Whether you’re the brand-new parent of a little one or the proud parent of a pre-teen, you can face all sorts of choices about how to raise healthy kids. For instance, when’s the best time to start your baby on solid foods? How can you encourage good sleep habits for your child? And how can you instill self-esteem in your teen?
When faced with such questions, it’s easy to feel a little unsure.
If you ever doubt your ability to successfully raise strong, healthy kids, remember that some uncertainty is totally normal. Each parent’s journey has a slightly different path from the next, and the unique needs of each child can require a one-of-a-kind parenting style.
Still, feeling confident about your skills as a parent can go a long way toward helping you raise happy, confident kids. If you’re wondering how to be a confident parent, it can help to learn why it matters—and to learn a few tips on how to parent with confidence every day.
Why is Parenting with Confidence Important?
Feeling confident might improve your ability to make choices, feel capable, and improve your beliefs in your competence as a parent.1 But you might wonder how your own feelings of confidence and self-esteem can affect your child. After all, you can still encourage your child’s self-esteem when you’re unsure about yourself—right?
However, your confidence as a parent is important for more than just you—it matters for your kids, too. That’s because children use their parents as a model for behavior.2 When you demonstrate confidence in your own choices and actions, it can help encourage your child to feel more confident, too.
A recent study shows that an important aspect of a caregiver’s ability to raise a child comes down to whether they believe they have the confidence to successfully raise them.1
For example, a parent who feels sure of their parenting skills is more likely to have a positive impact on their child’s developmental growth than someone who isn’t sure of their ability to parent. In other words, parental confidence begets child confidence. Have faith in yourself and your parenting abilities, and your child will follow suit.
That said, confidence is a concept that is sometimes easier said than done. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve your confidence and model it to your child at the same time.
If you’re wondering what you can do to be someone who parents with confidence, a few strategies can set you up for success.
Following a few confidence-boosting recommendations can help you to remain mindful of your abilities as a parent and keep insecurities at bay. Here are some of our favorites:
#1 Seek Learning Resources
If you’re the type of person that likes to be prepared, seeking out resources can be a wonderful way to give your confidence a lift. Parenting courses, support groups, community centers, the local Y, and renting out books from the local library are all excellent options. These resources can give you access to information or answers to questions that may ease your uncertainties and inform your choices. Additionally, you may consider connecting with your children’s school counselors for extra support or guidance.
Aside from courses on general parenting, you can also gain confidence by taking courses that teach about safety for parents. Pediatric first aid is a course that is frequently recommended and can provide extremely useful tools for handling stressful and scary situations, especially during the infant years.3
No matter how prepared you feel, there can always be curveballs when it comes to parenting your kids. Having the resources to address issues as they happen can alleviate some layers of stress and help you know where to turn for support when parenting surprises arise.
#2 Explore Family Activities
Your journey to building confidence doesn’t have to be one you take on alone. Since part of the goal here is to raise confident kids, you can both work on confidence together.
Consider exploring group confidence-building activities where you face new and uncertain situations as a family unit. Here are some ideas that can help you boost your confidence and have fun at the same time:
- Explore a new area on a family hike in nature
- Try a new skill like rock climbing or skiing that will allow you and your child to tackle new activities together
- Plan a family meal to cook together that includes new spices or ingredients to try for the first time
- Take a creative class together as a family, like painting or pottery (or try these activities at home if the resources are available)
- Attend free events hosted by your community or neighborhood to interact with other families and friends where your children can build connections with others and their environments.
Not only are these activities great for you as a parent, but they can also be effective self-esteem activities for kids. Facing fears and trying new things together can help build confidence and create bonding experiences that bring you closer together. From nature walks to neighborhood gatherings or playdates, there are plenty of ways for families from all backgrounds to build relationships and confidence.
#3 Count on Planning and Routines
Another way to feel prepared as a parent is to take time to plan and schedule daily routines. Knowing the steps you will take to accomplish a task can make them less stressful for both parents and kids.
You can start by planning out the tasks you and your family need to accomplish at different times of day, such as:
- Cleanup and chores
You don’t have to incorporate a whole list of all-new routines at once. Try starting with a soothing bedtime routine that includes cozying up for some one-on-one time. You can include simple activities, like reading a book with your little one and their favorite snugglers. Or, set a morning routine to help you and your child start the day on the right foot. If you have a very busy schedule, try tackling routine planning one step and breath at a time––small steps can lead to big accomplishments.
#4 Read and Learn Together
Reading and learning together as a family can encourage healthy habits, support development, and build confidence in yourself and your child.4 To make this activity even more beneficial, look for storybooks and materials that help you and your child learn about confidence.
Try reading a book together like The Confidence Within, followed by a discussion on ways the Confidence Crew helps encourage a feeling of self-worth. Sometimes using positive language to talk through self-doubt can be a way to relieve and eliminate fears while setting the building blocks for a more confident mindset in both of you.
#5 Trust Your Intuition
When addressing your child’s needs, there’s one reminder you can rely on to boost your confidence—you know them best.
At Slumberkins, we know that nobody knows your child’s unique emotional and physical needs better than you do. While advice can be helpful, use your best judgment and intuition when making parenting decisions rather than relying solely on the suggestions of others.
Being in tune with your child's needs and feelings can help guide your choices as a parent, like knowing when to deviate from a routine if they’re feeling under the weather or keeping them home from school if they seem like they need a mental health day.
#6 Acknowledge and Accept Your Mistakes
We can all make mistakes from time to time. After all, parents are only human. Instead of letting fear of failure bring you down, use the mistakes as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow.
Acknowledging a problem and accepting it can make it easier to move on, allowing you to learn different steps for the next time. As a parent, this form of self-acceptance and self-compassion is also an important trait to exhibit around your kids.5 It shows your child that it is okay to fail or make mistakes.
Talk to your child about why you made the mistake and how you will fix it. Doing so can help them learn to give themselves the same compassion when they make mistakes.
#7 Avoid Comparisons
Sometimes it can be difficult not to compare yourself to other parents. Seeing another mom at the park with a perfectly prepared picnic or a father walking around the grocery store with a handful of well-behaved kids in tow (and zero tears being shed) might make you wonder if you’re doing something wrong.
Instead of comparing, remember that every family faces different challenges and that seeing a glimpse into their life doesn’t give you the whole story. Every family dynamic is different, so what works for them might not work for you—and vice versa.
Rather than comparing yourself to others, embrace your differences. Instead of comparing parenting styles, focus on what you are doing right in raising a happy and well-adjusted child. One way to divert from comparisons is by learning how to practice self-acceptance.
#8 Be Present
Children have basic physical needs like food, clothing, and shelter––but they also have emotional needs like love and support that are vital for their health and well-being, and that help them grow and develop meaningful connections with their surroundings.
Being a constant, active presence in your child’s life is the easiest thing a parent can do and often the most effective. Listen, react, and be a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on. You are their home base, their tuning fork, and their comfort. Have confidence knowing your child relies on you as they find their place in the world.
#9 Take Time to Reflect and Build on Your Own Confidence
Taking time to reflect on your parenting strategies can help you identify what you’re doing well—and for those successes, you deserve a pat on the back.
It can also give you the opportunity to find areas where you might be struggling in your parental confidence. You can use those challenges to consider new methods to improve and build your self-confidence.
Taking the time to reflect once a week is a terrific step toward building your confidence. Here are four steps you can follow to help you reflect:
- Step 1: Find a time and place where you can be distraction-free from people and technology.
- Step 2: Take five to ten minutes to think about your past week of parenting.
- Step 3: During your contemplation, write down what successes you had and what struggles you faced. What went well? What didn’t?
- Step 4: Write down possible solutions to your challenges so that you can use them in future scenarios. You can return later to reflect once again on the outcomes, and whether your new solutions helped.
At the end of the day, finding ways to celebrate your own parenting success is essential to your own well-being as you watch your kids grow. For instance, if you kept your cool the entire time your child had a tantrum or you set a healthy boundary about playtime and have stuck to it since day one, it’s important to acknowledge these moments as successes. Even more so, if your child opened up to you and expressed their emotions about something and you listened with intent and care, you’re making progress in a healthy parenting approach.
Even when times are busy, taking the time to recognize, evaluate, and reflect on your own successes as a parent can help you develop your own skills and build loving connections with your child in the near and far future.
Build Confidence as a Family with Slumberkins
Parenting is often a journey without a defined roadmap, but the end result is worth the uncertainty, roadblocks, and detours along the way—and every step is a chance to gain confidence.
At Slumberkins, we provide the tools and resources you and your child need to thrive and succeed in a kind, caring, and emotionally supportive environment.
Find inspiration in our self-esteem collection, like our self-esteem toys or children's books about self esteem, to encourage and support your whole family as they build confidence in themselves and their abilities. When little seeds of doubt start to creep and fears of failure inch close, take heart in knowing that you’re the best parent you can be.
- Vance, Ashlee J, and Debra H Brandon. “Delineating Among Parenting Confidence, Parenting Self-Efficacy, and Competence.” ANS. Advances in nursing science vol. 40,4 (2017): E18-E37. doi:10.1097/ANS.0000000000000179
- "How to Shape & Manage Your Young Child’s Behavior." American Academy of Pediatrics. https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/family-dynamics/communication-discipline/Pages/How-to-Shape-Manage-Young-Child-Behavior.aspx
- "A Parent’s Guide to First Aid." National CPR Association. 6 June, 2018. https://www.nationalcprassociation.com/parents-guide-first-aid/
- Xie, Qian-Wen et al. “Psychosocial Effects of Parent-Child Book Reading Interventions: A Meta-analysis.” Pediatrics vol. 141,4 (2018): e20172675. doi:10.1542/peds.2017-2675
- Clay, Rebecca. "Why you need more self-compassion." American Psychological Association. September, 2016. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/09/ce-corner
- Klass, Perri et al. "How to Be a Modern Parent." The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/guide-to-modern-parenting