Raising a confident child is the goal of every parent.  Confidence often trumps intelligence as being sure of yourself can take your far in life and mask what is lacking in intellect.

Instilling confidence starts at an early age.

When your child is an infant, allow multiple people to hold and talk to your baby.  This encourages your child to feel safe even when they are not with you and  know that you will return when you hold them again.  This same premise continues as your child gets older.  Be sure to allow your child to spend time away from you completely.  Maybe a playdate with grandma or a babysitter will allow you to go grocery shopping or on a date with your significant other.  This builds your child’s confidence.  Your child will need to rely on themselves gaining confidence from within versus getting confidence from you, the parent.  Consider when you are on a playdate with your child to sit a distance away from them.  If you child seeks you out for help, talk the solution through with your child but send your child to handle the situation without you.  Asking open ended questions like “what do you think you should do?” or “how do you think you should handle it?” will guide your child to be a confident, problem solver.

As your child experiments with walking, let him/her fall.  These will not be big falls as he/she is quite small.  You can “let” your child fall on carpet just allow your child to make mistakes so they have the ability to learn from them.

As your child grows, set up their space to allow for independence.  Put up a hook low enough for them to hang their own coat.  Shoes cubbies teach a child to put away their shoes.  A hook in the bathroom allows them to hang their towel if they cannot reach the towel bar.  Encourage your child to put away their toys.  A step ladder at the sink allows them to help with dishes.  Confidence grows in the ability to do more tasks on your own.

Dress and undressing  themselves allows children to feel confident with their own bodies.  Be aware of the correct ages to encourage each dressing and undressing task.  As the parent you will have to buy clothes that allow for this learning and independence.  For example, elastic waist pants are easier to put on than button waist pants.  Shirts that pull over the head are easier to put on than shirts with multiple buttons.

A child should be able to tie their own shoes by the age of 5.  So he/she should start wearing tie shoes around the age of 4 years old so they can begin to practice tying.

Biking riding is a social skill.  Children that do not learn how to ride a bike may be left behind when their friends ride off on their bikes.  So make sure you really work on this with your child.  Know what age your child should ride a bike without pedals progressing to a tricycle to a 3 wheeled scooter to a 2 wheeler with training wheels and a 2 wheeled scooter to a bike without training wheels.  Much confidence and independence is developed with bike skills.

Child often exhibit behavior due to lack of verbal skills.  So encourage language in your child early.  Read books and name each picture in the book.  Name each item in your child’s environment.  Be sure to vary your vocabulary.  For example, rather than calling all shoes shoes use the more specific names like sandal, slipper, heel, flip flop, etc. Read books with real animals rather than cartoon pictures.  Cartoon horses can look the same as a cartoon cow, dog or goat.

Visit our website at http://www.abcpediatrictherapy.com for developmental checklists so you know what to encourage with your child and when.  Look ahead so you are sure to have the correct toys in your home at the correct time.

Good luck!  I believe you can raise a confident, successful child.