How to Build Children’s Confidence as Students

By Huntington Learning Center

Talk about mistakes as learning opportunities. If your child receives a low grade on a homework assignment, have a conversation about what happened. Did your child misunderstand the directions? Did they hand in something incomplete or of poor quality? Did they not understand the material? Whatever the case, your child needs to know that they can control their effort. Acknowledging mistakes—whether caused by lack of effort or lack of understanding—is part of their growth process as a student and person.

Remind your child that with preparation comes confidence in the classroom. Your child can vastly improve their self-confidence by taking ownership of their school responsibilities. If they go to school ready to learn, pay attention in class, and do the work required to perform well on homework and tests, your child will likely do well in school.

Point out your child’s growth as a result of their own efforts. Acknowledge when your child studies hard for a class and earns a good grade or raises a grade in a difficult subject after getting help from their teacher and/or a tutor. Taking pride in their own efforts is an important part of strengthening their self-confidence. As your child overcomes any academic hurdles, they will feel more confident about taking on new and bigger challenges too.

Put your child in charge. Even if your child has hit a few bumps in school, your consistent message should be that school is their responsibility. Let your child decide how and when they do homework and put trust in them—even if you think they could be doing things better. Your child needs to feel the weight of their decisions, both good and bad. Letting them take control, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes is essential for them to become confident students. This doesn’t mean you step away completely. Be available for support, and most importantly, tell your child explicitly that you believe in their abilities.

Have your child establish a good study and homework routine. One of the best ways parents can support their children in school is by insisting on a good homework/study routine, which isn’t always inherent. Generally, your student should embrace these nightly habits (and you can adapt them as appropriate, depending on your child’s age):

  • Review the digital or paper-based planner for all homework assignments and upcoming tests/quizzes.
  • Update the planner with anything new coming up (e.g., tests or project due dates, other activities, etc.).
  • Prioritize the night’s assignments (going from shortest to longest and from easiest to hardest, or vice versa, depending on your student’s preference).
  • Check the school’s -learning management platform for incorrectly marked absences, grade updates, missing assignments, and teacher communication about assignments.
  • Tidy and organize the desk after finishing homework. Make sure the digital files are organized for easy access.
  • Put all materials in the backpack for school the next day.
  • Look ahead at what is coming up for the next day’s classes (if the student is in middle or high school).

Encourage goal setting. Setting goals can be a highly motivating activity for students, especially as they experience success in reaching them. The more your child attempts difficult things and achieves them, the more their confidence will grow that they have what it takes. So, talk about your child’s ambitions. Do they want to earn a certain Grade Point Average? Take Advanced Placement and honors courses in high school? Go to a selective university? Goals are good!


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