Building confidence in children

“If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” – Marcus Garvey
Confidence in children is developed in the home through interaction with the family, and reinforced through experience.
They are generally many ways to inculcate confidence in your child, this post, however, will focus on the public speaking element.

A child becomes either an introvert or an extrovert based on the family set up. If he grows up in an environment where his opinion is sought out, he is challenged and engaged verbally, he is most likely to become social and an extrovert. However if your child is raised in an environment where she can only speak when spoken to, has many rules, no engagement and is constantly using gadgets to entertain herself, she is most likely to become reserved and an extrovert.

The cutthroat environment created by our society today, does not provide much opportunities to adults who cannot express themselves and are perceived introverted. It may be wrong, but, depending on the industry your child will eventually enter, most tend to have a preference for extroverts. You can already help your 2 years old child develop confidence and love for public speaking through several methods:

– Story telling: reading a story to your child helps her develop her vocabulary and emotional intelligence- which are fundamentals in delivering an impactful message.
– Presentation: it is never too early for your child to start presenting. You can choose a topic (or have her choose one) and stand before the family to deliver it. It could last one minute.
As you begin, you will notice how uncomfortable she will be the first few days. Looking at the roof or the floor, turning around, touching her hair are some of the few signs you are most likely to notice. After the presentation, congratulate her (i cannot over emphasize this point: ALWAYS congratulate your child) and then gently, point out the areas to improve. Do it as often as possible and with an increasing number of people.

– Debate over a topic: this will help her realize that it is ok to have a different opinion from others and learn to say no.

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