10 ideas that can help fill your child's confidence bucket

inspiring children to be confident

Over the years parents have shared with me thoughts like 'I wish that my child would':
  • join in more
  • participate, interact
  • put their hand up 
  • speak up
  • communicate more
  • try new things
  • be more assertiv, 
  • develop new friendships….
And that all comes down to confidence. 

Confidence is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as:

The quality of being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future.

Whilst personality plays a role in determining the level of confidence we have, becoming “certain of our abilities” takes a great deal of nurturing and development from all those who interact with a child.

Parents, family, educators, members of the wider community (doctors etc) all play an instrumental role in modelling and instilling confidence in children.

I think of confidence as a bucket with a tiny hole in the bottom. We need to fill the bucket all day, every day. Throughout our lives, we might lose traces through the hole in the bucket.

This loss could be defined as our learning when we grow from our experiences. Such as if we fall when riding - we learn that we must keep pedaling!

These loses are countered with the consistent filling of the bucket from those who surround us, thus keeping our confidence supply abundant.

One of the reasons I am so passionate about teaching drama is the role I get to play in contributing to the growth of a student’s confidence.

Here are 10 ideas that help fill the confidence bucket!

The classic move - Costume dress up

All kids love to dress up!  It allows children to let their imaginations take charge, developing confidence with stepping into the role of other characters.

Neutral costumes work well such as an unmarked cape.

One day it might be for a super hero the next day for queen from a far off land!

Rhyme and Sing it

I cannot emphasize enough how important daily use rhymes (actions), poems, songs and stories are in supporting students confidence and literacy development, particularly younger children.

Relax and unwind

Tension can accompany shyness.

Relaxation plays a critical role in preparing our body to let the creativity flow.

Breathing, centering and relaxation exercises are very useful tools to have in our back pocket for any situation!  

My students enjoy breathing like:

Hissing snakes - breath in through the nose 2, 3,4 then out through the mouth 2,3,4 hissing like a snake.
Hoppy rabbits - 4 short nose twitches 2,3,4 then long exhale through the nose
Hibernating bears -  Inhale through the nose 2,3,4 Pause 1,2 exhale through the nose 2,3,4  Pause 1,2 repeat.

Retell a Story

Retelling a story in front of an audience is a great way for children to grow confidence in front of their peers.

By sharing a story in their own words and using character voices, provides children with a great learning experience that adds to the bucket.

Once students are comfortable with familiar stories, they could make up their own, along with giving short talks or sharing observations.

Mime it

Mime is an excellent way to build confidence as a performer as it focuses solely on movement, gesture and facial expressions to convey a message or situation.

Without speaking children can become comfortable with their space, other students and portraying a message using their own actions.

Role Play

A role play is where by a short scene is created based on simple story line. The story is based on realistic characters and situations.

Example: You are taking your cat to the Vet, but the cat refuses to get out of the carry cage, what will you do? 

By taking on the role of another character, children learn how to interact in a situation they may have some knowledge of but not necessarily have faced before, which is a great way to build confidence!

Speak it & Move it

A great voice warm up is to get students to say a line of dialogue as different characters.

Eg: Say - “Quick, ice the birthday cake!” as if you are the … queen, principal, a cat, doctor, dinosaur, inventor, goblin. Add in emotions - sad queen etc…  

Or add movement, walk as if you are surprised inventor… etc

This is a simple yet effective way for children to build confidence with character development.  

Team Build

Having opportunity to work collaboratively with others is key to developing social skills, self esteem and confidence.  

Although we collaborate through all improvised work, specific cooperative activities are a fun way for students to get to know each other and build confidence and trust in performing together.

I particularly like this link for great cohesion inspiration!

Experience the Theatre

Going to the theatre is a great way for children to see polished performance models and reinforces self confidence with the connection, - I enjoyed that performance, I would like to be able to do that too - and I can and I will :)

Also, as teachers modeling performance techniques for your students is important. This demonstrates to them that it’s fun to pretend and delve into the imagination.

If you lead the way it paves the way for them to follow.

Positive Feedback

Our words as a teacher are critical. Our feedback must be encouraging and supportive to enable confidence to bloom.

A simple and effective feedback  technique is: the combination of positive, constructive and then another positive statement.

Keep comments useful and substantial to enable growth.

Here's an example of feedback given to a child who is taking part in a characterisation exercise:

Positive: Great job because I could see you were elderly by the way you bent your back as you moved.

Constructive: Could you have pretended to hold a walking stick too?

Positive: The way you wobbled your voice when you spoke sounded convincing too!  Awesome thinking!

To sign off...

Sunshine Drama classes are a positive and fun way that children can explore their creativity, in a safe, encouraging atmosphere. 

The drama environment helps children discover themselves and build their self-assurance.

Children who become involved in drama classes learn to speak expressively and articulately, co-operate and compromise with others.

These lifelong skills are hugely beneficial to a student’s development of confidence!

Classes start July 29th. Here's the lesson timetable.