There’s so much pressure for kids to be confident – in school, with their friends and online.  With children as young as five having their own YouTube channels (managed by their parents of course), to schools putting on productions or even standing up in class as part of a pop quiz.  The pressure for kids to perform in all aspects of their life is huge, but what can you do if your child isn’t naturally, confident?

It’s okay to be you

Some children attract attention.  They walk into a room and everyone looks up. They’re the first to put their hand up, they’re funny and usually centre stage.  Others will do anything to avoid being put on the spot. They’re happy to be in the chorus rather than centre stage and are just as happy watching. The key here is that it’s okay for your child not to be confident in a showy way.  It’s also okay for your child to know that.  We’re all different and kids have so much pressure on them. So it’s vital that they know that who they are, is just fine.  They don’t have to be the class clown or the centre of attention, they can be who they are, where they are, and they’ll still be a star. If your child is finding it hard to believe this, take a leaf out of singer Pink’s book and make your child a PowerPoint presentation filled with people who look and act, just like them.  The quiet stars, the authors, the inventors, the singers.  The ones who struggled with spotlight, but still shone bright.  By giving your child idols like them to look up to, it makes who they are normal, in their own young heads.

Celebrate the wins

No matter what they are, celebrate.  If they’ve never answered a question in class before, but they did today, celebrate.  If they went up to the counter to pay for something on their own, celebrate.  There’s no such thing as something being too small to celebrate and each little thing turns into something slightly bigger next time. Confidence is built through confidence.

Lead by example

If your child is shy or struggles with confidence, ask yourself what you struggle with.  Is there something that you’re a little bit scared about, or that you’ve put off because it worries you.  Do you not like heights, or going to the public swimming pool?  If your child is aware of this fear, but they’re not afraid of it, let them teach you how to not be afraid of it. Let them take over, be the brave one and help you to be brave.  By turning things on their head, you’re showing them how confident they are in a situation and how they can take control and own it.  Then, switch it up, say ‘You helped me get over this, now let me try and help you’.  Working together to boost each other is a really powerful tool.

Ask for help

You may feel like you’ve tried everything.  That you’ve done all the usual things like look into a performing arts club, managed situations, spoken to the school.  But your child may still be struggling, and you can feel helpless. It’s important to know you’re not alone and neither are they. Ask for help, speak to the school, the doctor or your local children’s centre, to see if they can refer you to someone who can help you create strategies to make things easier.  Mental health and anxiety are now more readily spoken about and come in so many different forms that a specialist can help you see the wood from the trees and find a solution that works for your family, and your child.