When preschoolers feel confident in their abilities, they are more engaged, motivated, and empowered to try new things
What You Need to Know
Self-confidence focuses on whether a child believes they are capable. This can help children see challenging tasks as something to practice rather than something to avoid. It allows them to persevere when things are tough. You can help children develop a healthy sense of self-confidence by giving opportunities to try new things and take responsibility. Make sure to acknowledge their efforts and to value their ideas and contributions.
What It Looks Like
A quick glance at how you can help preschoolers develop their self-confidence
Praise children’s effort rather than their results. This kind of acknowledgement builds their confidence and frees them to take risks when trying new things.
Reinforce Children’s Capabilities
Promote children’s independence and abilities by giving them real roles and responsibilities in the classroom.
Children develop confidence through repeated moments of feeling successful and competent. Encouraging children to complete things as independently as possible provides these kinds of opportunities.
Encouragement and Affirmations
Positive, authentic encouragement and affirmations help boost children’s confidence. Focusing on their effort and process, not perfection, inspires children to feel safe, take risks, and try new things. Altogether, this builds their self-confidence.
Building Connection to Support Self-Confidence
To develop self-confidence, children exposed to trauma need to feel safe and included in their community. Harvard’s Dr. Junlei Li discusses the power of “deep and simple” interactions to support children learn, develop, and feel secure.
Working with Families to Support Children's Self-Confidence
In this article from the Child Mind Institute, Liz Greene shares four ways families can support the development of self-confidence.
Help Children Become Thoughtful, Informed, and Brave About Race
When adults openly discuss race and human diversity, they help children build confidence in themselves and comfort with others. This action guide, produced by EmbraceRace, shares small, but powerful steps to nurture race-brave children. Available in English and Spanish.
TEACHING THROUGH BOOKS
Fostering Confidence and Persistence
Learn how you can use books to empower young children and celebrate that confidence is built through simple, everyday moments. Our selected books convey messages of confidence, persistence, and overcoming challenges, both big and small.
Activity Cards for Preschool Classrooms
Part of the STREAMin³ curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways to promote children's confidence.
Get Our Resource Guide
Includes questions and activities to guide your use of the videos, book suggestions, and activity cards featured for each of our core social-emotional skills