Doing This 1 Very Cute Thing Can Work Wonders For Your Child's Confidence

It's a simple idea, but the repercussions could be huge.
Delmaine Donson via Getty Images

A mother-of-three and therapist has opened up about the one simple (and very adorable) thing her parents did that boosted her confidence growing up – and explained how you can try it with your own kids.

Jessica VanderWier, founder of Nurtured First, revealed her parents would talk to her cuddly toys about her, in front of her. And while it might sound a little odd to some, it actually had a very positive impact.

“As a child I would sit there and smile as I overheard my parents say nice things about me. Now, as a therapist, I see that this simple tool was actually profound. By overhearing them share good things about me, I started to believe these things were true,” she said in a post on Instagram.

As parents it can be easy to say all kinds of things in front of your kids without actually registering that, yes, they’re probably taking lots of this information in. This is why it’s important to keep any negative talk – whether about your child or others – to a minimum.

According to Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind, children have already developed self-esteem at the age of five.

Hafeez told Business Insider that this is when they’re “likely to listen to what people say and form opinions based on their interactions with others”.

Phrases which can make a difference

VanderWier shared some examples of the things her parents would say to her stuffed toys that made her feel good about herself as a child. These include:

  • “Wow, did you see her? She got dressed fast! She looks so confident in that outfit!”
  • “Oh bunny, you’re so silly. You think you love her the most. I love her even MORE.”
  • “Did you hear how brave she was at the doctor’s today? No? Let me tell you...”

The therapist said letting kids overhear good things about them is a “simple, yet profound concept”.

She explained how even for adults it can have a huge impact. For example, while it’s nice to be told by someone that you work hard, to overhear your boss telling another colleague how hard you work can be even more powerful.

“The words we say to our kids when they are little will eventually become how they talk about themselves,” she added.

If you’re looking for other ways to boost your child’s self-esteem, check out these recommendations from the charity Young Minds:

  • Let your child know you value effort rather than perfection
  • Encourage them to try new challenges
  • Encourage them to voice their opinions and ideas
  • Ask them about three good things that went well during their day
  • Acknowledge how they feel and help them to express this in words
  • Spend quality time together doing things they enjoy