A child’s performance socially, academically and in other areas, depends on his confidence.  It is important to understand how parents, guardians and carers of children can help boost their confidence.  As we work to grow ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders’, this too is an area for concern and enlightenment.

“For me, confidence building starts from the first second after birth” says Uchenna Nwosuigbo, Child Education Counsellor.  “One of the first things to achieve in the first year is ‘basic trust in the environment’.  In the first two weeks of life, the child needs to trust this new environment that he finds himself in.  So whenever the child cries (as that’s a major means of communication for him), he should be attended to.  This makes him feel secure”

“Breastfeeding is one activity that encourages mother and child communication and bonding” Uchenna continues.  “When a mother breastfeeds her child, she should focus on the child, be in a quiet place or sit on a chair facing the wall, so she can pay attention to the child”.

Many parents over-protect instead of building confidence.  Encouraging autonomy at an early age is also good practice.  Uchenna advises that “as the child grows, his sleep area should be set up in such a way to encourage movement, so a floor bed is best to give the child independence.  It helps in slithering or crawling to sleep and leaving the bed independently after waking up”.

It’s also important to give children options.  “When you want to read a book or put on his clothes, show him two to choose from” Uchenna says.  “Even though he may raise his hand and point at any random item initially, over time, he understands he has a choice”.

We must also be careful that we don’t override their choices, or ridicule.  “When a child wears his shoes the wrong way and you keep changing or correcting, you sap his self-confidence” Uchenna counsels.  “Adults must establish trust in the child first. Children can sense distrust so pretending to trust the child and his abilities won’t cut it.”

Order and stability cannot be over-emphasised.  Uchenna warns that “one should be careful of changing the child’s environment as it can make them lack a sense of security (Imagine being in an unfamiliar country!)”.

Finally, “children learn by watching people, so keep being a role model and one day, the child will do what you’ve been modelling…”

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