4 Tips For Giving Toddlers Belief In Themselves

Toddlerhood is an ideal time to start teaching your child to believe in his or her self. Here are some tips for giving toddlers belief in themselves.

giving toddlers belief in themselves

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
– Frederick Douglass

What has your toddler learned today? Probably more things than you could begin to count. They most likely picked up some new vocabulary, mastered a simple skill, did something autonomously for the first time, ate a new food, saw a new face, etc.

From the moment little ones wake to the moment they shut those sweet eyes (Hallelujah! Break out the wine!) they are learning and growing.

This constant assimilation of new information is a lot of work and can feel overwhelming for both child and parents. Your kiddo is being pushed and pulled by life at every turn.

Kids have to take risks to grow and learn but parents are terrified of their kids taking risks. Children have to gain independence but adults’ natural inclination is to protect them.

Because of that, toddlerhood is an ideal time to start teaching your child to believe in his or her self. Their little spongy brains are soaking up everything you show them and say to them. They may not seem to be listening but, trust me, they are.

1Self-esteem vs. Self-efficacy

The greatest natural resource our country has is not oil. It’s not gas. It’s not coal. It’s the genius of our children.
– Cory Booker

Self-esteem is essentially liking yourself. We talk a lot about self-esteem in regard to raising kids, and for good reason. But, there is another important concept to consider. Does your child believe that he or she can impact the world around them and that the things that they do matter?

That’s a loaded question. I mean, do we as adults feel that way all of the time? Nope. But, that’s self-efficacy.

So, how do we teach kids to believe that they are impactful and their actions are important?

2Model it!

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
– Khalil Gibran

Start with you. If you aren’t modeling it in everything that you do with your kid then forget it. You can’t lack belief in yourself but expect to magically pass something different on to your children.

It cannot be emphasized enough how much new information they are assimilating every single day. They are looking to you for cues of how to act in all that they do.

If your kid is like most kids, your child believes in you with everything that he or she has. They look at you with the loving blinders of childhood and don’t see your weaknesses.

If you give it your best shot each day to believe in yourself as much as your child believes in you, you may be surprised at how much confidence you gain.

3Why toddlers need to believe in themselves

The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.
– Frank A. Clark

Toddlers specifically need to believe in themselves because they are currently developing their worldview. They are figuring out where they fit on this big old planet and how to interact appropriately in social settings. They’re tiny and very dependent on others. It is so vital that you foster the sense of self-efficacy in them that you hope to see throughout their life. It really does start now.

4Ways to foster self-efficacy

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.
– Charles R. Swindoll

Here are some quick and easy ways to foster self-belief in your child:

  • Rather than just telling them that they are awesome, allow them to prove it. For example, you may tell them all of the time what a wonderful helper that they are but how often do you actually let them help? Think about grocery store visits when they want to help load the cart or the last time you did the laundry and they begged to chip in. Did you let them? Small kids like helping because it gives them a sense of self-efficacy.
  • Read, discuss, and explore the concept of a growth mindset and that the mind is a muscle that can be stretched and worked in order to become stronger.
  • Get them engaged in local and community charities and activities, even if all they can do is help with the simplest tasks. Teach them as early as possible that they have an important impact on the world in which they live.

Your toddler is watching. Remember that self-belief is modeled above all. If you don’t show your kid how, they won’t learn.

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Jessica Gray
Jessica Gray lives in North Carolina with her husband and two little boys. She enjoys cooking, but she hates cleaning house. She's deeply passionate about kids and education - her experiences working with children as a teacher have been some of the most rewarding of her life. Writing has been a lifelong passion that started with notebooks, old scraps of paper, and journals. She loves to write informative and educational pieces for kids and adults.