Tips to Raise a Physically Confident Kid

Kids who are confident in themselves and their abilities will do better academically, socially, and behaviorally. Physical confidence, in particular, can mean better mental and physical health.

Signs of Physical Confidence

Being physically confident isn’t just about being physically active, although that is part of it. Kids who are confident in their bodies are:

  • Comfortable with different kinds of sports and other physical activities
  • Willing to try new things and take on new challenges
  • Secure in their body’s ability to handle those challenges
  • Aware of their limits, but also aware those limits can be overcome
  • Mentally tough; they realize that some skills are hard to master, but they keep trying

7 Ways to Promote Physical Confidence

  1. Be a role model.  Let your kids see you take on physical challenges and show them how you stick with it, even when it’s hard. Avoid making excuses, like “I’m too old/weak/fat to try that.”
  2. Let kids make mistakes. Parents should instill the value that we can all learn from our mistakes, and then let them go.
  3. Support risk-taking. Free play and risk-taking are awesome opportunities for kids to solve their own problems.
  4. Help kids set goals. Remind them not to be so critical of themselves, and focus on getting better than they were the day before. They can do this by focusing on small wins—such as getting an assist in soccer—and taking the initiative to improve their physical skills outside of an organized practice.
  5. Get them a not-so-secret admirer. Kids need to be told what they’re good at, but (surprise) they don’t always listen when they hear it from Mom and Dad. This admirer could be a private coach, but it could also be a relative or family friend, especially one who has an interest in the same sport or activity that your child participates in.
  6. Create a love list. Your child might respond a little better to praise if you make it a craft project. Here’s an example of how to do this academic and other school-related skills, creating a paper chain of positive statements.  You could even make it a whole-family project, to share the love. You might be surprised at what types of praise siblings can come up with for each other.
  7. Counter negative self-talk. Help them make a list of their strengths and weaknesses. Check in with your child’s coach or teachers on this one. Bringing in a different perspective may open kids’ eyes to something they weren’t aware of.