Cultivating self-confidence in kids is not an easy task. There is so much going on in the world that seems designed to tear down a child’s self-esteem; it can be tough to counteract it all. However, there are ways that parents, schools, and communities can work together to grow confident kids through engaging projects and fun activities. These ideas are just a jumping off point, but you have to start somewhere.
How Confidence is Cultivated
Developing confidence is a fairly simple process. It involves regularly placing the person in situations where they are slightly stretched out of their comfort zone. With each success another brick of confidence slides into place. People can do this at home for themselves, but usually that is more difficult. It is easier when there is a checks and balances system; when they have someone to answer to if they “shy away” and don’t follow through with the task. That is where parents, community, and schools come into play.
Nurture an Interest
Find out what the child is interested in and encourage it. For instance, many children gravitate toward art and it is appropriate for all ages. Photography is another very good hobby—even children as young as 5 or 6 can learn how to use a camera. A photo scavenger hunt is a great way to draw kids out of their shell and start building their confidence.
Community Sports Teams
Not all children enjoy sports, but those who do can definitely benefit from being part of a team and gaining confidence from sports accomplishments. Competitions are not necessary to build confidence – that is not what self-esteem is about. It isn’t about how much better you are than someone else, but that you are the best you can be.
Individual sporting activities like hiking, golfing, and cycling allow more reserved children to participate in activities without having to interact socially with others – or not too much. Community trails can host cycling or hiking events that give children the option to participate together or alone. The accomplishments are what build the confidence.
Learning a New Skill
Community held seminars or courses that teach various skills from swimming to crafts to public speaking can do wonders for boosting and building a child’s confidence. The skills can be practical for everyday life such as cooking and car maintenance, or they can be more hobby related like writing, woodworking, and photography. People in general need to know that they have talents, things that they do well. When those things are identified and enhanced through education, the confidence naturally grows with it.
The stage may not be for everyone, but there are many jobs that make a stage production possible, and a lot of them do not involve being in front of an audience. Community theater has long been a haven for children who felt lonely, or believed they did not easily “fit in” anywhere. Kids can learn about acting, costumes, makeup, lighting, sound, buildings sets, managing props, and other aspects of putting together a production. Some theaters even task a group of children with writing the play they produce.
Most of all, children need to know that someone cares about them and believes in them. When others believe in you, it is much easier to believe in yourself.