What is a confident baby? A child that feels secure and safe. A child that knows they are loved and important. A child that is (mostly!) happy and content.
By meeting your baby's emotional needs now, you'll help them develop the foundation of a healthy self-confidence to help them navigate through the baby years, childhood and beyond.
Showing your baby love and affection comes naturally. When your baby is distressed, you comfort them. When they are afraid or uncertain, you reassure them. When they smile at you, you beam back at them! The simple act of responding appropriately to your baby's range of emotions – from happy to sad, excited to anxious – helps them feel safe, secure and loved.
Establishing routine in your baby's life is another way to build their self-confidence, because repetition fosters a strong sense of security. When your child has a (relatively) set daily routine, they know what to expect, and this makes them happy and content.
On the other hand, it's also important to teach your baby to cope with unexpected changes in routine. Such new situations can really challenge your baby's confidence, and they will look to your for reassurance. This is an ideal opportunity to lead by example! Be a role model for your baby by using words, actions and behaviour to show them that while new experiences can be daunting, they are nothing to fret about. Being able to cope with change is a great way to build self-esteem.
Offering your baby physical closeness is instinctive and makes your baby feel emotionally secure. Simply holding your baby close, stroking their body, or rubbing their back will help to soothe, calm and reassure them when they're feeling anxious.
You can also boost your baby's confidence by showing them that they are an important and special part of the family! Acknowledge them as a person in their own right by responding to their attempts to communicate and interact with you. It's as simple as making eye contact, smiling at each other, responding to their babbling, and devoting time to uninterrupted play.
Responding to your baby in these ways shows them how much they matter to you.
Allowing your baby the freedom to direct their own play is a wonderful way to develop their feelings of self-worth and independence. Children are naturally self-motivated, so give your baby toys that they can operate without help – and eventually master. They'll gain confidence as they test out their ability to operate a toy all by themselves – then realise they can do it! Giving praise also nourishes your baby's soul, though the inner sense of self-satisfaction and pride they feel can be equally rewarding.
Solving problems builds confidence too, so be sure to choose toys and activities that are age-appropriate yet offer some challenges to keep your baby stimulated.