5 Fun Confidence Building Activities
Here at the Confidence Builder Club we’re always looking for ways to promote confidence. This can be done at any time, we don’t need to wait until our children are feeling anxious about a specific situation or circumstance. We can help increase confidence steadily through their every day activities to minimise the occurrence of anxiety when they do find themselves in more challenging situations.
I believe one of the best ways of increasing confidence in children is through fun activities or play. In his study carried out in 2012, Dr David Whitbread of the University of Cambridge highlights the ‘mounting evidence of the effects of play and fun activities on the increase in intellectual achievement and emotional well-being.’
Here are 5 of our favourite and fun confidence building activities for children of any age…
Create a Confidence Corner
The Confidence Corner is a place a child can go to be reminded of their abilities, accomplishments and confidence and to ‘top it up’. In their confidence corner your child can display: pictures and/or photo’s of positive past experiences, posters of positive affirmations, drawings or stories about goals and plans for the future, toys and artefacts that inspire confidence or feelings of positivity. You’re child can visit this corner of the room when they need an added boost of confidence or they want to reflect on a positive experience. The confidence corner is also a great place to put school certificates and awards.
3 Good Things
Confidence builds when we reflect on and really acknowledge confidence we have already. The problem is, we often have a habit of giving attention to the things which need more work and ignoring the things we’ve done well. Often, when in 1:1 therapy in my clinic in Wokingham, Berkshire, I ask my young clients about their day, they launch into an overview of what they didn’t like or what went wrong. It’s only when I challenge them do they then give me a list of the things they’ve done well. So, make it a habit. At family dinner time or the end of the day, work wth your child on defining 3 good things that have happened that day. Ask them lots of questions about their good things so they’re able to relive the experience and get a second hit of positivity. You can join in too. Not only will it remind you of the positive things about your day, it’ll teach your children about your life and the things you’re proud of.
One day I’m going to…
This is a great game to help children form positive goals in their mind. Ask your child to finish the sentence ‘One day I’m going to…’ and then ask them lots of questions to really get a detailed picture, to help them see themselves doing the task or goal. Draw them away from talking about the detail of how, where, when etc. Focussing on the specifics can force us to look at the problems we may occur along the way or pinpoint specific challenges. Instead ask them lots of questions around their motivation, ‘what will that give you?’ ‘what will that look/sound/feel like?’ Once we create a detailed picture of what we want in our mind, our focus of attention is placed on that goal. You can also help your child to act it out, imagine what it would be like to actually be there, accomplishing the goal. It’s another great activity for you to do do with your child too. What is it that you’d like to do one day?
If I were…
If your child is stuck on something specific or even for a generic confidence boost this is a great role play game. Ask your child to think of the something they’re stuck on or something they’d like to do in the future. Then ask them to think of a character, someone famous, a superhero, a character from a book or a friend/family member they like or admire. Ask them to become that person (it’s best of they move position for this, sitting in a different chair or standing in a different place). Get them to carry out the scenario as that person. Encourage them to act and talk like that person as much as possible. Ask lots of questions about how they would do the task, what would be important to them etc. and encourage as many actions as possible. I worked with a young child using this activity. He wanted to be in the local football team but was too nervous and self conscious to join. His hero was Ronaldo, so we watched a video of him talking, we noticed his mannerisms, accent, moves on the pitch etc. I then asked my client to ‘step into his shoes’. He practiced ‘being Ronaldo’, he also answered some questions about himself as Ronaldo. I then asked him to step back into his own shoes and carry out the same activities – he carried Ronaldo with him in our session and into the football team.
Strike a (Confident) Pose
Help your child to create a pose that represents confidence to them. In the Feelings Basket book series, the character Confident, likes to stand tall and hold his head up high like a soldier. Your child may prefer to stand like a super hero or do a ‘high 5’ pose. Once they’ve chosen their pose help them to practice it and each time they create the pose, ask them to think of a time they felt really confident or how they feel really confident now. Then incorporate this pose into your day. As you go about your day, every so ofter call out ‘strike a pose’. Each time you do this your child will recreate the pose and the feeling of confidence. You may also like to join in with your own confident pose. This technique can then be used at times when they may be feeling a little less confident or when facing a challenge. It may not always provide a big wave of confidence, especially if your child is finding something particularly challenging but the trigger for them to change their physiology will be enough to interrupt any internal negative dialogue and create a more positive state which can then be the basis for further confidence building. For older children, simply get them to practice a confident stance and feelings when they carry out specific activities and practice the activity while in the confident pose.
Remember to have fun with each of these activities, feeling happy and confident is a brilliant combination when faced with a challenge.