Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Everyone knows that confidence makes the world go round. Yes, I know that phrase is usually dedicated to love or money. However, very few would dispute that self-confidence is up there with some of the most important traits a person can possess. It directly affects nearly every aspect of our lives, and if we are lucky enough to have had a series of experiences that have led us to have good self-confidence, it is proven that we are likely to be happier and more successful than those that don’t. Yes, you’re absolutely right, some children are born with naturally less confidence than others. But there is plenty that we can do within the home and classroom that improves confidence of all ages.
1. Give them your full attention.
ChildMind.org says that giving a child your full attention gives them a feeling of self-worth and importance. Here are some key ways of showing that they have your attention:
· Allow them to discuss their feelings openly without judgment. They will know that their feelings are validated and matter.
· If they want to talk about something, stop and listen.
2. Give them encouragement.
This may sound obvious, but there is a difference between encouragement and praise. Think about the last time you were complimented for how you managed something or reacted to a situation. It feels great! Commenting only when your child has achieved something may make them feel like they need to be flawless to be worthwhile. Encourage the process and the effort, not just the outcome.
3. Don’t control. Coach.
As parents and teachers this is something that we can all learn to be better at. Giving instructions and advice, although we may see as highly valuable can often go right over a child’s head. Asking questions and genuinely enquiring about their opinion will allow them to reach the answer themselves. Asking a child’s opinion on a problem that you have is also a great way of boosting self-esteem and worth. (Plus, sometimes they have the solution!)
4. Comparison is the thief of joy.
In such a competitive industry, an acting class is the feeding ground for comparison. However, each child/teen is different in strengths, appearance, background, interests. It is important to remind them of this, and not to make any comparisons in ability at all. This is easier than it sounds, every class is so varied, as a teacher we can put focus on each child’s different strength, also developing their sense of identity. Particularly useful as they’re developing themselves as actors!