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confidence1Self-Confidence is crucial for the emotional development of children. Self- Confidence is what helps them follow thru on tasks despite ups and downs and accomplish goals at home, in school and other activities. It is especially important in children with learning disorders, intellectual disabilities, ADHD, anxiety and mood disorders, as they are more vulnerable to having low self-confidence.

Tips to Build Self- Confidence

Support Independence
Support independence and provide motivation to engage in activities that are age-appropriate. Preschoolers can be encouraged to be independent and make their own decisions. For example, you can let them put their own coats on themselves and allow them to choose their clothes for school the next day. They are able to grasp the consequences of their decisions. If your child wants to try something new, such as riding a bike, encourage this behavior. If you see them struggling, stop yourself from jumping in to help, and allow them to do it themselves. Provide them with chores around the house- i.e. doing laundry, taking out the garbage. Children will feel a sense of pride and independence as they take on these responsibilities.

Allow your Child to Make Mistakes
Making mistakes is a crucial part of learning to become independent and building self-confidence. For example, if your child answers a homework question incorrectly, afterwards, ask them how they could have done it differently, and make it a learning experience. Children must develop a sense of fortitude and be able to start all over again after a failed task. It is also crucial to have coping mechanisms in place to handle difficult situations and learn to adjust as needed.

Provide Praise for the Effort
It is important to praise the effort rather than success in an activity. Praising the success or achievements puts pressure on children to perform at an expected standard every time. Children then feel that they are worthwhile only if they can deliver perfection at a given task. Instead, praising the effort serves as a foundation for the growth of your child’s mindset and provides them with the encouragement to continue. Rather than saying, “you got a 100 on the test. You are so smart,” say, “I really liked the way you studied the past week for the test to do well.”

Be your Child’s Advocate
Let your child know that you love them no matter what regardless of whether things go well or not. Spend quality time with your child and listen to them so they know that you value them. Praise their strengths and positive behaviors to increase their self-accomplishment.

Self Confidence is vital to the growth and development of children. To build self-confidence, it is crucial to support their independence, provide praise for the effort rather than the success in any given activity. Allow them to make mistakes and learn to be resilient in the event of failure. Most importantly, be your child’s advocate and support them with your love.

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Dr. Urmila Pai is a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of various psychiatric disorders, including ADHD, Disruptive Disorders, Adjustment to Life Issues, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and PTSD. She maintains a private practice in Jericho NY. Visit her at