How to Increase Confidence in Children

Confidence is an emotional state which brings happiness and certainty when we have it and at worst anxiety and sadness when we don’t.

Developing confidence within children is a matter of providing them with positive beliefs and references and reinforcing these beliefs in their abilities.

Children are very reliant upon the adult world for their development in their own self-awareness and the situations, environments and experiences you expose them to will at times build their confidence and at other times challenge it.

Here are four important elements in expanding and developing children’s confidence:


We all at some point in our lives encounter set backs, embarrassments or other unwelcome and uncomfortable moments and feelings and these incidents do not need to be damaging to a child’s confidence or belief, in fact they could provide a very valuable learning opportunity.

When a situation happens that appears to knock your child’s confidence, bring to their attention some of the “silver linings” that may be available:

  • The situation, whilst in some way was bad, may have diverted them from or protected them from something far worse.
  • If something like this happens again, they will be far better prepared for it from what they have learnt today and will recover faster.
  • Is there a positive outcome from this and is there any comedy value to it?
  • It might not be the case yet that you know the significance of why this situation is useful to you, but you might look back one day and realise that there is one.
  • In the grand scheme of your whole life and this situation being probably around 0.0001% of the many situations you have had and will have, it is therefore insignificant.

Set a good example

If you want your child to live with confidence, they’ll need to see you behaving confidently also. So if you yourself have pitfalls and/or anxieties, get them ironed out so that they don’t learn how to deliver a “lack of confidence” from you.

It is easy to think that we hide the differences in our own characters to avoid others seeing that side of us because our brains are wired to do that. We as human beings always look for contrasts but the truth is your child may be sucking in and processing more of your own behaviours/traits than you realise, even the one’s you thought were completely secret.

Praise and feedback

When you see or hear about your child behaving in a confident way, make a point of praising them for it. You want to encourage more of this behaviour in the foreseeable future then positively reinforcing it is great for securing this. It doesn't have to be a massive event, like standing on stage, it may just be the first time that they did something grown up for themselves instead of having a parent do it for them, like ordering something off a menu or complimenting someone else. If you can point out their confidence regularly over the little things, it will encourage them to manifest it in more meaningful areas too.

In situations where their confidence may have room for improvement or they avoid a situation in which they could have stood out, make sure you make the effort to tell them what they did well, highlight what they could’ve done better next time and finish with what was great about their overall efforts.

By Del Walsh