Building confidence

We can think about two different kinds of confidence – being happy to “have a go”, and feeling confident with social situations.

Here is a leaflet explaining about confidence and learning

Play@Home has some games that can help build this kind of confidence:

  • Board walk (play@home preschool page 36)
  • Footprints (play@home preschool page 40)
  • Hide and seek (play@home preschool page 52)
  • Climbing (play@home preschool page 70)
  • Kitchen fun (play@home preschool page 86)

Some children are less confident than others when it comes to playing with other children, although they may be really chatty with adults or people they know.  To some extent, this can be part of their character – some people are naturally more shy, or prefer their own company.  This is fine, but also children need to learn to be relaxed in social situations – most of our school and working lives involve being with others.

Here are some ideas to help build social confidence:

  • take some time to prepare the child for what is ahead.  For example, on the way to nursery, describe the day, and what the child might enjoy about it – refer to happy past experiences – “You’ll be able to play with Joe again!”  The same goes before a birthday party or similar event
  • if the child has worries (“So and so will be mean to me”) don’t dismiss them, but show you understand – the child is more likely to accept advice or think of a solution
  • be patient with children who seem to need to hang around an adult – they are testing out what is safe and what is not
  • use your relationship and trust with the child to introduce other children – but a little at a time.  Adults can help children play together, and gradually withdraw


Worries about adults?

Bear in mind that sometimes it is the adults that a child finds scary – for example a particular member of staff.  This is not anybody’s fault – just that adults are big and loud to some children.  Gentle introductions, saying nice things about the child and doing fun things together can help with this.  If there was a particular “thing” that happened, let the child say their concerns without judging, and then you can explain what happened.