Building Confidence by Age: Toddlers and Preschoolers
Building confidence for toddlers and preschoolers already has the foundation established if the parents established routines, offered praise, let them become independent and still let them know they were in a safe place. Toddlers and preschoolers are now beginning to use their words to express their wants and needs. They also are understanding that they have to walk to the car instead of being carried. This is building their confidence as well because they are learning more independence and using this to try new things. Most kids this age should be able to use the toys at the park with minimal help. They might need an occasional push, but most 3-year-olds can figure out how to use the strength of their legs and bodies to move the swing back and forth. They have strength in their arms and can hold onto the chains of the swing and away they go. This accomplishment warrants great praise and your reward is a huge smile. If children start walking by the age of nine months, they usually will be able to figure out how to use swings, ride bikes and skate at a younger age. This is because some children are more agile. This is why it’s important to take your toddlers and preschoolers to outdoor play areas so they can learn how to build more of their skills while gaining more confidence in themselves.
Don’t compare them with the others
Parents should never compare their children with other toddlers and preschoolers. The important thing to do is to hone in on what makes your child unique and let them know it. This is a huge bonus in helping to boost confidence in toddlers and preschoolers. Children become more at ease when they understand they are an individual with a whole different set of traits that are unique to them. Parents should focus on their toddlers and preschoolers interests and take it from them and sign them up for classes. If you have a toddler that loves the water, sign them up for swimming lessons. The same with a preschooler, if they love the water sign them up for swimming lessons. Kids that start anything they love at a young age will become more confident in their abilities to succeed and pretty soon you will see your 4-year-old going off the high dive. Swimming is an example, but there are many classes from art to karate that children can enjoy and learn to build their confidence.
Parents should also watch what they say in front of their little ones. If your child hasn’t seen their grandparents in a while and is clinging to you, don’t apologize for them. You can reassure them that it’s ok and they can say hello when they are ready. Toddlers go through a stage and when they see someone they recognize, they have to study them for a while and then they may suddenly come up to grandpa or grandma. Once they watch their parents interacting, they see the coast is clear and they are safe. This way they still have control of the situation and are still able to build confidence when they are ready to socialize with their grandparents or aunts and uncles.
Be their role model
Parents also have to set examples when they are in public gatherings by talking to other people and being kind. If your child is having a playdate, talk to their friend and start a conversation so your child will notice that it’s ok to socialize with this friend and they start copying their parents. Kids enjoy acting like their parents when socializing because they love you to pieces and you are setting the stage for them to enjoy a nice day with their friend. When they watch how easy it is for their parents to talk to others, they will realize there is nothing to worry about.
Let them get prepared
Parents should always tell their toddlers and preschoolers what the plans are in advance. This way you are preparing your child for whatever the event is that they are attending. If it happens to be a party for children, tell them who is attending the party and what the activities are. Small children love parties and sometimes want to bring their toys along to share and feel more secure. Let your child bring a toy if it helps them feel safe. This way they feel they are in control and watch you interact which helps them to warm up to the other children and build confidence with their social skills.
If you have a small toddler, they can become very overwhelmed if there are too many kids at an outing. Keep the number of friends small so your toddler feels comfortable around kids their age. When you see they begin to gain confidence, then you can extend their world by inviting more kids along or enroll them in some classes where there are more children their age. This also will help them build their confidence at their speed.
Don’t force them
Parents should never push their tots into something they are not ready for. This might cause serious anxiety and they won’t want to participate because they feel uncertain of the outcomes. If you continue to push them to participate, it just makes it worse and they will start withdrawing. Small children become scared very easily so the more you push, the less they are going to cooperate. They want to feel safe and it’s your job to make them feel safe so don’t force the issue.
Support your child, but don’t be overprotective
There are many parents that are overprotective and in some cases, it’s ok when it comes to stranger danger. Parents still want their young ones to try new things and succeed so let them take small steps towards their accomplishments. Let them know that you will help them by staying with them while they try something new. A small look at something new will help them engage in trying the new opportunity and help them build the confidence they need to let go of your hand.
Remember to tell your little people how happy you are and proud of their accomplishments. Don’t overdo it but let them know that you are truly amazed at the object they just made all on their own if this was the new opportunity. Whatever you are introducing your child to, praise them when they have those small successes. This will indeed help them build more confidence with age and try new things along the way.