Developing Self-Confidence

When children feel confident in their abilities, they are more engaged, motivated, and empowered to try new things

Young boy excited during center time

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 children develop their self-confidence

Recognize Effort

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.

Support Independence

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.

Elementary Pupil Reading With Teacher In Classroom Looking At Each Other Smiling

CLASSROOM STRATEGY

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.

TRAUMA-INFORMED CARE

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.

FAMILY CONNECTION

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.

CONSIDERING EQUITY

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.

BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE THROUGH BOOKS

Building Your Classroom's Bookshelf

Learn how we can use books to empower young children, encourage them to try new things, show them how to persevere through challenges, and celebrate that confidence is built through simple, everyday moments.

Pupils At Montessori School Looking At Book With Teacher

Activity Cards

Part of the STREAMin³ curriculum, these activity cards provide simple and fun ways to promote children's confidence.
I can do it activity card icon
acknowledge effort

I Can Do it Too

Create opportunities for children to show off their skills!

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Sing My Name Activity Card Icon
give challenge

Sing My Name

Greet children with a melody and encouage them to sing their name

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Steady Beat Name Game activity card icon
connect

Steady Beat Name Game

Work together to keep a steady beat and say each name in time

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Follow leader activity card icon
empower

Follow the Leader

Let each child lead the group and encourage others to follow carefully

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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