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How to Raise Confident and Happy Kids

Written by Payal Malhotra, Lipa Consul for India

“With the realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.” – Dalai Lama 

Health, happiness and success are things every parent wants for their kids—the underlying tactic in achieving all this is self-confidence. We’re not born with a certain amount of confidence. Like any other skill, you can improve and develop it over time. Trying new things and challenging yourself helps us achieve great things, which in turn boosts our self-confidence. Check out the following tips for giving your kids confidence they can take on the world with.



 

Coach instead of doing

Sometimes it’s difficult to step aside and let our kids complete a task by themselves, especially when it seems to be taking forever. Think of tasks like a game—your child is the player, and you are the coach. Show them how to do something or explain the strategy with words – with this little help, kids have a better chance of succeeding when trying something new. When they succeed (no matter how small their success), their confidence increases and they are motivated to try new things on their own.

 

Be encouraging

A little encouragement can go a long way. Imagine trying to tie your shoes with a adult standing by tapping their toes and looking at their watch in irritation—that wouldn’t make you feel encouraged to continue trying. You’d just ask for your parents to do it for you. In the same way, we should offer hints of encouragement to motivate kids to keep trying. Repeat the adage ‘practise makes perfect’ and ‘if at first you don’t succeed…’. They’ll have a positive effect on your child’s internal motivation so they will continue to build skills.

 

Focus on efforts and not end result

We can get stuck on looking at results rather than the process itself. But with our kids, we should revel in the process of learning and practising—if they don’t accomplish something they went for, talk to them about how they prepared and practised for it, and talk about anything you would do differently. Always end on a positive note, such as ‘That was a good try. It’s okay to fail, but maybe you want to try again.’ Praise their work ethic (as long as they had one) and only criticize their actions, not their character. Say, ‘I think if you want to achieve this, you’ll need to spend more time practising instead of playing video games’ instead of ‘You failed because you were kind of lazy.’

 

Offer unstructured playtime

Not every activity needs to have a purpose. Let your kids to simply play as they want and with what they want, without any interference from your side. This doesn’t mean playing on digital devices—unstructured playtime should allow kids to explore their abilities and try something new. Experts suggest that this type of play is connected to better academic results, because it’s hugely beneficial for creativity and imagination.

 

 

Set some base rules

Finding the right balance between freedom and boundaries can help your kids understand structure and how to set smaller goals to achieve something bigger, such as saving small change to buy that toy they want later. Set some rules that your kids can follow. No matter what they are, explain the logic behind the rules you decide to set. By doing this, you’ll create a closer relationship with your kids based on mutual respect and understanding as you help them develop into more confident kids.

 

Have you heard the old proverb about giving our kids roots and wings? Unconditional love is the roots. Confidence is the wings. Young people who have both live a happier life.