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Thursday, August 7, 2014

11 Playful Ways to Grow Solid Confidence in Kids

Photo by swong95765 (Flickr)

As parents, we want our children to feel safe and empowered in their own skin. We can talk to our kids to nurture confidence, but action makes a more lasting impact. Ben Franklin said it best: "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn." By engaging in confidence-boosting activities, your kids will feel ready to tackle their first day of school, socialize with friends and just be their wonderful selves. This confidence will grow and enhance their lives into adulthood.

Play is an ideal way to prep the "soil" for growing confidence. It mixes essential ingredients like learning, action, application and freedom. It can also help them relax and reflect so they can be more at ease with themselves. So without further ado, let's get to the fun stuff!

Here are 11 great ways to help grow solid confidence within your children.

  1. Who Wants To Sing? As a kid (and sometimes adult!), it can be so daunting to get up and present or perform in front of a group of people. Consider having a karaoke party at home with just the family; that way, your child can have silly, easygoing fun while receiving positive feedback. These happy thoughts can help ease the dread of public speaking.
  2. Head to the Playground: There are many benefits to visiting the playground, and confidence is a big one. The playground is a buffet of exploration, interaction and growth, all topped with a healthy dollop of fun. Here, a child can discover a bold sense of self and how they influence their surroundings.
  3. Assign Chores: When your children are old enough, consider giving them chores. Even if their cleaning skills aren't top-notch just yet, let them know that you appreciate their efforts. It also assures them that you believe in their abilities, and that they can make a positive impact on their environment. Chores can be fun and playful, too: stir up some big bubbles while washing the dishes!
  4. Water the Plants: Designate a plant for your child to care for. They will feel responsible and accountable, and this can do wonders for inspiring them to believe in themselves as caregivers capable of creating a better world. For older kids, caring for pet fish can also foster a sense of responsibility and pride.
  5. Play With Your Kids: By playing with your children, you're showing that you enjoy spending time with them and are interested in what they like. They will feel worth your time and energy. However, it's also essential to let them partake in independent, unsupervised play so they can gain trust in themselves by taking healthy risks and being their own leader.
  6. Go For a Bike Ride: By going for bike rides to nearby locations with your kids, it will empower your children by giving them control of their own transportation. Plus, everybody needs and deserves to exercise for optimal physical and mental health!
  7. The Wall of Fame: Setting up a "Wall of Fame" for your children has always been a personal favorite of mine. It's the perfect place to display their artwork, good grades, handmade cards and more. You are honoring their hard work and celebrating their creativity.
  8. Lights! Camera! Action! Take pictures of and with your kids. Try to steer clear of too many staged photos; by just snapping shots of them just being themselves, you show that you cherish their true colors. You can also invite them to take photos of anything they please so that they feel as if their interests are worthy of being illuminated.
  9. Does Anyone Want To Dance? Movement, especially dance, is vital for self-expression. This can build a fluid sense of awareness both in themselves and in a group dynamic. Not only that, it can promote a positive body image. Consider classes or just spontaneous dance parties with you and the kids. It's a ton of fun!
  10. Be Creative: This stretches far beyond just painting or drawing. Encourage them to explore a variety of creative outlets so they feel the liberty to find what best suits them. When they see what they've created, they'll realize, "I can do it!"
  11. Teach Good Manners: Reinforce good manners and applaud compassion. We can all create a more happy, healthy environment wherever we go, and your kids will be delighted and proud to be a part of that. The golden rule of treating others as we wish to be treated should play an active role during all activities.

How do you strive to foster lifelong confidence in your children? I'd love to hear about your own fun, unique ways of weaving playful confidence into your family life!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart


  1. Love this post, especially the bit about the wall of fame. Thanks. Two of my kids are already teenagers but I guess it's never too late.

  2. I already employ a number of the tips in this article but I especially like the karaoke and the wall of fame ideas. My boys are in their early teens but I guess it's never too late to start a wall of fame for them.

    1. Did you have any of their proud creations from when they were younger? It could be endearing and nostalgic to start a chronological wall of fame! Even if they don't appreciate it now (teenagers will be teenagers) I bet they will later! :-)