From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Confidence

Here’s how you can help your child build a sense of competence and belief in themselves.

Nov 29, 2021



From the Scholastic Bookshelf: How to Talk to Kids About Confidence

Nov 29, 2021

As a parent, you naturally want to instill a sense of confidence in your child. A child with a strong self-esteem will weather social, emotional, and professional setbacks better, and have less fear and reluctance in the face of new challenges. 

While children build confidence firsthand through self-accomplishment, there’s a lot you can do to support your child on their journey! That may include actively listening and playing with them, or encouraging them to be curious and courageous.

Children can also find examples of self-acceptance in books

For its 100th anniversary, Scholastic spoke with experts to identify a set of tips, articles and books that make starting a conversation with your child about confidence and self-acceptance easier. These resources are part of a broader initiative, called the Scholastic Bookshelf, created for Instagram to raise awareness around contemporary issues affecting children today.

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For children in Pre-K, kindergarten, or beginning elementary school:

Early readers can benefit from the sense of ambition, adventure, and general “unstoppability” modeled by the strong characters in kids’ books. 

Read-aloud titles like I Can Be Anything, You Are Enough, and All Because You Matter send positive messages about self-acceptance and individual ability — providing an important foundation for your child as they learn to tackle problems on their own.

As you read aloud together, make time to discuss the messages and themes of triumph found in their favorite books. 

Unconditional love is another constant in these books, and that’s exactly what you want to show your child as they grow. Your child senses when you are paying attention or distracted, so aim to be completely focused on them when you’re spending time together one-on-one. Knowing you want to be in their company really means the world to them. 

What’s more,fostering an environment that encourages curiosity primes your child to absorb knowledge during the school years ahead. (Here are books that spark curiosity.) 

For children in or approaching middle school:

As children grow and begin to experience adversity for the first time — such as rejection from friendship circles and not making the grade or the sports team — there is an opportunity to learn the values of resilience and persistence. 

Dav Pilkey’s wildly popular Dog Man series explores themes of adversity and persistence in Dog Man #6: Brawl of the Wild. Jailed for a crime he didn’t commit, the series’ heroic hound sets out to prove his innocence while searching for his place among dogs and people. Ultimately, being his true self is what sets Dog Man free.

In My Life Without Hair, an article for young readers in Scholastic Storyworks, we meet 11-year-old Ariah, who has alopecia areata, a disease that causes hair loss. We follow Ariah as she is fitted for a prosthetic hairpiece that gives her renewed confidence around her classmates. 

After blending in, however, Ariah realizes that it’s good to be different, and stops wearing the prosthesis, saving it instead for special occasions. Her individuality, she decides, is her superpower.

Allowing your child to also be their true self — and staying positive about all the wins, defeats, and attempts along the way — can make a big difference in their sense of confidence. 

Be sure to visit the Scholastic Bookshelf for more resources on confidence and other must-discuss topics.

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Confidence and Self-Esteem