Child Therapist Shares One Adorably Simple Way To Help Kids Feel More Confident

And other easy and powerful ways to boost their self-esteem.

girl smiling laying on ground with stuffed animals Carolin Voelker from corelens

It's common knowledge that saying kind words to our children can have a positive impact on them as they grow older. And while it's important to tell them directly how proud we are of them for their specific accomplishments, there's another way to share your pride that may be even better for their overall sense of confidence.

Consider this adorably simple idea from child therapist Jess VanderWier.

“My parents would talk to my stuffed animals about me," VanderWier states. "‘Wow, did you see her? She got dressed quickly. She looks so confident in that outfit!'“


This little game had a huge impact on how she viewed herself as she got older. “As a child, I’d sit there and smile as I overheard my parents say nice things about me.” Now she continues with this tradition, saying nice things about her own daughter to her stuffies to help boost her confidence.

“How we talk about our kids when they are young, shapes their own internal voice in the future,” VanderWier explains.

"Of course, we want to tell them these amazing things," she further states, "but there's also something powerful in letting them overhear you praise them."

RELATED: 6 Powerful Ways To Raise Confident, Body-Positive Kids


Other Simple Ways To Boost Your Child's Confidence

1. Be conscious about the way you speak to your child.

According to expert on sensory processing disorder Carol Stock Kranowitz, children respond best to positively affirmative language, such as:

  • I have faith in you!
  • Good start.
  • I’m looking forward to hearing what you say.
  • I love you!
  • Thank you.

Taking the time to be conscious and thoughtful with what you say can help you and your child build a stronger emotional connection in the long run, as well as build a foundation of trust.



2. Don't spank your child.

Some parents may not see spanking as a huge deal. After all, it was considered the norm back in the day. But if you want to create more self-confidence in your child, research shows you have to do away with spanking completely.


According to the Global Center For The Development Of The Whole Child, “Physical punishment, such as spanking, can have negative developmental consequences and is not effective for altering or changing behaviors.”

And spanking doesn’t just cause your child’s self-confidence to plummet — it can also cause behavioral problems in your child as well. As Terri D'Arrigo writes for Psychiatric News, “Kids learn that this is an appropriate behavior, and it prompts them to become more aggressive.”

3. Forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes.

As licensed clinical social worker Sean Grover writes, “When faced with challenging or problematic behaviors in children, all parents are bound to make mistakes.”

The most common mistakes parents tend to make are:

  • Blaming the other parent for their child’s behavior
  • Shaming their child
  • Heavily punishing their child
  • Modeling disrespectful behavior

RELATED: A Child Therapist Reveals The Simple Thing Her Parents Did That Boosted Her Confidence

4. Do the work to learn how to communicate with your child in healthier ways.

There is a way to reconnect and engage with your child — even after some of the worst mistakes — and this starts with healthy communication. Though it may sound overly simple, having healthy communication with your child is the foundation of any functioning relationship.



It's never too late to repair and strengthen your relationship with your child and their self-esteem. Grover suggests trying:

  • Modeling positive behavior
  • Using respectful language only
  • Listening to your children

In addition, "Try incorporating family meetings to check up on your progress, " writes Grover. Ask your child how things are going and agree on boundaries together.

Small steps such as these, can make lasting changes to your child’s self-esteem, impacting them in all areas of their life.

According to a professor at New York University Michelle P. Maidenberg, "When children feel confident, they are more likely to have academic and personal success.” Not only that but children who are more confident feel more appreciated and loved, writes Kids Health.

5. Encourage them to do things on their own that will build them up.

Most importantly, support your child when they do things that will build their own self-confidence.




According to Kids Health, children build confidence when:

  • They make progress towards a goal
  • Learn new things at school
  • Score well academically
  • Make new connections
  • Engage in activities that they love to do
  • Try hard at something and receive praise at the end

By building your children’s confidence you can help improve their self-esteem and foster a better and healthier environment within your household.

RELATED: 13 Inspiring Things Parents Should Tell Kids To Help Them Be Healthy, Happy & Confident


Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career, and family topics.