Raising kids seems more challenging now than ever before, especially when you have to compete with their social media feed. If you’re like most Crème de la Crème’s parents, you want to help your kids feel like they can tackle whatever comes their way. Use these expert tips to learn how to encourage confident independence in your kids so that they can grow into self-sufficient adults.

Encourage Kids to Try Something New

Kid playing baseball listening to adult

Listening Intensely” licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr by wickenden

A diversified set of interests help expose kids to more opportunities for confidence building. So instead of focusing all their energy on what they already excel at, encourage them to learn something new. Remember, while it’s good to challenge them, kiddos also need opportunities to succeed in order to feel confident enough to tackle bigger challenges. Help them to get outside their comfort zone and get involved in new ventures by:

  • Playing another position on the team, such as outfielder if they routinely pitch.
  • Letting them pick a new activity the whole family can enjoy together, like a ceramics or other art class.
  • Keeping an adventure diary, where they can log all their brave attempts.
  • Being a good role model and tackling your own daunting new projects with optimism.

Allow Children to Experience Failure

It’s natural to want to protect your child from failure, but it’s the best way to learn for many of us. Falling short of a goal helps children discover that life does go on. It can also spur them on so they’ll put in more effort next time. This hard-earned habit will serve them well as adults, too.

It’s essential to reinforce the message that no one’s perfect. Even preschoolers can understand that what they see on TV isn’t always true. Being imperfect is OK, and the idea that others are always successful is a destructive fantasy. Your children can learn to quickly rebound from defeat and develop healthy self-confidence by:

  • Accepting that failure is part of being human.
  • Realizing that it’s alright to get upset, as long as they practice self-control.
  • Reflecting on each situation’s life lessons.
  • Owning the fail and putting it out there for everyone to see.
  • Redefining their objectives and shifting their trajectory to something new.

Celebrate Their Efforts

Studies show that children respond well to praise, and celebrating their efforts teaches them important life skills, like perseverance. Use praise wisely to help your kids develop confident independence if you notice your little ones develop a routine of quitting out of frustration or following a minor setback. 

Kids may feel distressed if they’re not the best on the team, for example. Redirect them with praise to boost their confidence enough to keep trying. Let them know you’re proud of them regardless of the outcomes and tell them:

  • No one succeeds at everything all the time.
  • You love them no matter what, win or lose.
  • It takes hard work to develop new skills.
  • Results aren’t always immediate. 
  • The important thing is to learn from your mistake, not avoid making them.
  • Confident people don’t let fear of failure get in their way because they take each setback in stride.

Help Children Discover Their Passions

As your children learn and grow, their interests will change, but their passion will remain a lifetime. Encouraging them to explore various interests can help boost a child’s sense of identity, which is essential for building self-worth. Seeing their talents grow will also give them a boost of self-esteem, so help them discover their passions by:

  • Nurturing them. Once you start to see your child begin to develop natural talent, it’s important to support it.
  • Helping with homework. Assisting your kids with their homework is a terrific way to discover a less traditional passion they may have. Who knew they were a budding scientist?
  • Talking with them. Having regular conversations with your child is another way to root out their interests.
  • Giving them chores. Even the smallest undertaking can reveal your kiddo’s unique talent. For example, weeding may reveal your daughter is an aspiring horticulturist while helping with dinner might show that your son has a knack in the kitchen.
  • Letting them feel bored. Boredom often forces the kiddos to be creative. Using their imagination may lead to a passion, like painting.
  • Studying what they shop for. Your child’s attraction to particular items in the store might echo their interest in them. They may have a passion for model building, for example.
  • Sharing your own passions. Letting your child see you enjoying what you’re passionate about is contagious.

Teach Kids How to Set Goals

Help your kids cultivate a growth-oriented mindset and teach them how to set goals. Achieving objectives gives kids an incredible surge of independent energy that they can use throughout their life. They learn that overcoming small obstacles can lead to success when they believe they can accomplish a milestone through hard work and perseverance. You’ll validate their interests and help them turn their dreams into realities. Start fostering this technique by:

  • Reinforcing the goal-setting methods your child already uses, like saving their allowance for something special.
  • Encouraging them to write down a bucket list of things they’d like to accomplish. Let them independently choose what they want to achieve.
  • Inviting your kids to start small by breaking down long-term goals into actionable steps that help them see quick, confidence-building results.
  • Keeping the milestones short term, as you don’t want your children losing interest before they realize success.
  • Sharing your family’s success stories at the dinner table or during a morning walk. Reexamine their processes together with your advice and wisdom as a guide.

Well, there you have it! Crème de la Crème just gave you these tips on how to encourage confident independence in your kids. What do you think of our suggestions? What techniques does your family use to boost each other’s self-esteem? Let us know! Drop us a line. We’ll be sure to add it to our list so other families can benefit from your ideas.