Developing Confidence in Your Toddler. Is this the right age?
Created by Shikha Batra Updated on Jun 02, 2020
Toddlerhood is that age between 12 to 36 months when the child is advancing from infancy toward and into the preschool years. It is a time for great cognitive, emotional and social development. During the second year, toddlers are aware of themselves and their surroundings. Their desire to explore their surroundings increases in this stage. They show greater independence and begin to show defiant behaviour.
Self-confidence is an essential ingredient in the recipe for a rewarding life.
It's the job of parents to raise a confident child beginning right from toddlerhood. Children who lack confidence are reluctant to try new things and face challenges as they are scared of failing or disappointing others. Discouragement and fear are the worst enemies of confidence. So, as a parent, it is our job to encourage and support our children right from toddlerhood to raise confident adults.
How encouragement is important for a toddler?
Encouragement is very important for a child right from an early age. It not only motivates the child to continue making efforts but also to give his best shot. However, encouragement should not mean praising the child for every small thing that he/she does as it would make him/her ignore the compliments. They will have a hard time realizing when to take the accomplishments seriously and celebrate those.
Is it okay for a parent to allow their toddler to fail?
It is absolutely fine for a toddler to fail as they will learn from their mistakes and in future make efforts to steer through the obstacles themselves without their parents' support. Not making a big deal about failing a task by the parent right from toddlerhood would make them learn to handle failures better in later life as well.
Should we let our toddlers make decisions themselves?
We should allow our children to make decisions for themselves right from toddlerhood as it would make them independent and responsible. Giving them options to choose from would help them gain confidence in their own judgement and foster their decision-making.
What are some of the ways to make our toddlers confident?
Some of the ways for raising a confident toddler are:
Efforts should be praised and winning or losing should not matter. As long as the child is trying and making efforts to do a task, our role as a parent or a teacher is to motivate him/her. Even if after giving his/her best shot, the child could not win, we should not demotivate the child as it would affect his/her confidence and he/she might not even make efforts or give up early in future.
Let them learn how to solve a problem by themselves since childhood as parents' hard work will not pay them. We as parents might help our children until they are a grownup but we might not be with them forever. Sooner or later they will have to learn to figure out problems by themselves.
Practice should play a key role as it makes the person perfect. The role of the parent is to encourage their toddler to practice whatever they are interested in without putting pressure as it is a very tender age and stress might affect their growth and development. The child should enjoy what he/ she is doing and not take it as a burden.
Expectations should not be unrealistic as it can affect a child's confidence. Expecting the child to perform like an adult or as good parents themselves would be an unrealistic standard which might discourage them.
Encourage curiosity by answering their queries. Scolding a child for asking too many questions would not only demotivate a child but would also make him/her refrain from asking questions thereon. This can also stop the child from thinking and learning better.
Setting new challenges by increasing responsibilities would nurture confidence in a toddler. For instance, allowing the child to ride a tricycle on his own without that push from the parent. Accomplishing small goals would give them the confidence to make bigger accomplishments.
Criticizing the child's efforts should be avoided as it would discourage him/her and lower his/her confidence. Also, it would prove to be a dampener for them because they would worry that the parent would be angry or disappointed if they fail. For instance - a toddler participates in a fun race and fails to succeed. If he is reprimanded by his parent for not running fast, parental criticism would not only reduce his confidence but would make him shy away from participating the next time as he is fearful to hurt or make the parent angry.
Learning from mistakes would build a child's confidence. Being overprotective by reacting on child's every mistake would rob them of the opportunity to learn and have a better approach towards a task the next time. Parents should treat mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow and allow their children to mess up every now and then and not to fear failure.
Expose the child to new things to widen their horizon. Increase in exposures to experiences and situations would help in developing their confidence in coping with the larger world. For instances: A toddler who is good in oration, making him join grooming classes would definitely help him in refining his skills and make him confident on stage.
Be authoritative and not strict as this can affect and reduce the child's confidence to self-direct.
As parents we want our children to have strong self-esteem and grow up to be confident adults. It is our role to reiterate and remind our children time and again that 'Journey is more important than the destination'. To prepare our children to face challenges and become happy, fulfilled and confident, it is advisable to start preparing them from toddlerhood itself.