How will you help your child become a self-confident kid and achieve her maximum potential?

An interesting fact is her genes do not make the final decision on the person she becomes. Environment affects how genes are expressed, which means her experiences from birth make a difference in her future capabilities, personality, and even self-confidence.

All children need self-confidence to reach their potential. Here are five things you can do to help your child thrive.

1. Watch and Wait

The next time she challenges herself, step back and give her a minute to work through it before you intervene. You probably didn’t learn to ride your bike the first time you got on, and maybe not even the twentieth. Let your baby fuss while she tries to roll over, or allow your toddler to make a big mess when she is learning to feed herself yogurt. Every struggle is a learning opportunity on how to push past adversity and on to success.

Step back to watch and wait, which gives you the opportunity to learn what your child is capable of, and what she needs some help with. It also gives her a chance to be challenged and attempt a new task on her own. Building confidence to try and fail helps her learn how not to give up when faced with a difficult task, which is a lifelong skill that many adults struggle with.

2. Never Do For Your Child What She Can Do for Herself

This is a tough one, and it is definitely the hardest for me. When my son turned two I was still carrying him down the stairs, even though he’d been able to do this himself safely since he was less than a year old. All this accomplished was giving him the message, “You need my help.” A better message would be, “You can do this yourself because you are capable.”

You have to know how to watch and wait to figure out what your daughter is capable of. The important part is that once she’s accomplished a task, then she needs the space to do it herself from then on. Let her master the details, and feel pride in what she’s capable of. A self-confident kid is created this way.

3. Let Her Lead

One of the biggest characteristics in private schools with high success rates, like Montessori or Sudbury schooling, is they are based on child-led learning. Child-led learning means allowing and encouraging children to explore what they are most interested in the moment. Children left to their own devices will gravitate towards activities their brains and bodies are ready for, allowing them to learn new things during the optimal development period. This helps kids become self-confident because they are pursuing what they are ready to learn at that moment.

The benefits of letting a child lead at home and at school include:

  1. Becoming a self-confident kid from an early age
  2. Encouraging a lifelong love of learning
  3. Learning happens in the areas of greatest benefit at the time
  4. Embrace new experiences instead of fearing them

As adults, it’s our responsibility to offer opportunities. Our children have the responsibility to choose what opportunities they wish to pursue.

4. Give Her the Gift of Safety and Security

In order to thrive your child needs to feel safe and secure. A child who doesn’t feel safe and secure is spending a lot of energy anticipating or reacting to stress instead of learning and growing.

Safety and security are accomplished by creating firm boundaries and enforcing them gently and with kindness. Outdated discipline methods like threats, yelling, and spanking are confusing to children and are counterproductive. By helping your child feel safe and secure, she will be able to focus on becoming a self-confident kid.

5. Lead By Example

The uncomfortable truth about being a parent is that kids are watching everything we do. Kids are little sponges observing, learning and internalizing all the time.

Instead of taking a negative, creepy-stalker view of this, think about your child’s amazing observation skills as a chance to teach. Use it to show her the type of body language and tone of voice that is productive and calming. Demonstrate daily tasks and healthy ways of managing emotions. Be honest and genuine. You can become the person you always wanted to be, in honor of your child.

We’ve all been there. Your toddler just ran into the street for the thousandth time today. It’s past nap time, nobody slept well last night, and you are are the end of your rope. He’s now whining and laying on the ground, refusing to get up and move. It is this moment that makes you reconsider ever decision you ever made leading to becoming a parent. The urge is there; your parents would have spanked you. This situation is unbearable. It’s time to teach him a lesson about respect!

I get it. I’ve been there. Toddlers are HARD to deal with. They have big emotions and not enough words or ways to deal with how they feel.

Let’s get real though. Not only is spanking abusive (yes, I said it, spanking is ABUSE), but it’s ineffective. There is no reason to spank. Spanking will not make you feel better, and your child’s behavior is not going to improve from spanking.

Spanking doesn’t work because it’s not a natural or logical consequence to anything they might be doing that drives you crazy. As adults, we would never spank each other (unless it’s fun and consensual) even in the most extreme circumstances. Your toddler will not learn anything from it, because he can’t make the connection between action-result.

Also spanking is abuse.

Here are five things you can do if you feel the urge to spank:

Be Honest

Be totally honest with your child. Say, “Wow I am feeling really angry right now because of how you are acting. I love you, I need a minute to calm down and feel less angry.”

Step Back

Step out of the situation. Don’t do it judgmentally, just explain you need a moment alone. Let your child fuss if they need to, let them know you are nearby if they need you and you will be bac

Connect

Hug your child instead. Chances are if emotions reach the point you feel like spanking, neither of you are in control. Reconnect, and hug if you and your child are both open to this.

Talk

Talk it out. Use “I” phrases. “I feel overwhelmed and scared when you run into the road. It’s not safe and I won’t let you do that.”

Ask for Help

Ask for help from your spouse, family, or even another parent nearby. Let them take the lead with your toddler for a few minutes while you get grounded.

Times that seem to call for spanking are actually opportunities. Opportunities for you to connect with your child. These are the moments when you can teach him how to deal with his emotions in a healthy way. Your urge to spank is rooted in not knowing any other way. You are the hero of this story; you can break the cycle of abuse by choosing to parent differently.

Next time emotions are running high and you are feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath and a step back. Show your child the healthy way to manage their emotions by example. This is hard, but the results are worth the effort.