4 Important Tips for Raising Confident Kids

As parents and caregivers, we all want to raise confident kids who are ready to take on the world. Children who trust in their own capabilities better navigate challenges, take risks, engage in learning, handle conflict, and have healthy relationships.

Cultivating confidence starts in the classroom and continues with engaging extracurricular activities. Now that it’s almost time for the kids to go back to school, we’ve enlisted Ridgefield Academy to help us share some of the ways you can instill confidence in your child, and we hope you find it helpful and inspiring! And you can learn more at their interactive admissions events.

1. Ensure a Child-Focused Approach

Students learn best when their schools and teachers can adapt to their individual needs, so it’s extra important that they are not only the focus of lessons, but are the driving force behind how teachers present information.

Ridgefield Academy uses a child-focused approach in the classroom
Students at Ridgefield Academy engaged in group work

Children’s passions, strengths, needs, family, culture, and community serve as fuel for learning, and should also drive their experience. As they develop meaningful connections with the content and the skills being reinforced, learning becomes an exciting process.

Moral of the story? Making the child’s interests and style of learning the focus encourages curiosity, and in turn, inspires academic growth. Now that’s what we call a win!

Smaller classroom sizes are key to supporting each student's needs individually
Ridgefield Academy offers classes for a wide variety of interests

2. Encourage Opportunities for Every Interest

Extracurricular activities are a superpower when it comes to children’s growth because by nature, their singular focus automatically adapts an experience to a child’s interests. Kids can focus better when they’re learning something they are truly interested in, and in a way that works for them. Through extracurriculars, they can explore new interests, learn new skills, and of course keep building confidence through rewarding experiences!

Ridgefield is blessed with a variety of arts, cultural, recreational and educational organizations for kids of all ages and interests, making it a great town for extracurricular activities. From art workshops, theater and dance classes to nature and history programs, you’ll find one to nurture every child.

  • For the child who loves (or doesn’t yet know they love!) the stage, a variety of theater and dance programs will spark their creativity. Ridgefield Theater Barn‘s and ACT of CT‘s Education Programs enrich children with the introduction of different theater styles including drama, musical theater, and vocal and acting skills. Meanwhile, dancers (also known as children who simply can’t stop moving to the beat) will discover new styles, develop techniques, and hone their creativity with programming at the Ridgefield Conservatory of Dance. Offering ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip-hop and musical theater, children will learn to harness their musical and rhythmic talents alike.
  • Budding artists from elementary school through college will develop their craft with wonderful classes. Children’s Programs at The Aldrich and camps at the Ridgefield Guild of Artists will unleash your little artist, and more focused workshops at RPAC Art Center & Academy will allow your high school or college age child to fine tune their skills.
Theater Barn Kids
Aldrich Camp
  • As we well know, there is nothing like movement to shake out a child’s abundant energy! The Ridgefield Parks & Recreation and Boys & Girls Club provide exceptional programming both after school, during break weeks, and through summer camps. And Way of the Sword offers a structured approach to fencing, a historic sport, focusing on discipline, honor, and self-expression.
  • Your mini botanist, conservationist, ornithologist, and entomologist will adore time at Woodcock Nature Center! Though there is a focus on recreation, other activities including crafts nurture motor skills and focus and are the perfect complement to busy bodies.
  • Curiosity is the root of all success in learning, and you’ll find a plethora of opportunities for educational enrichment here in town. Join the revolutionary discovery happening at the Keeler Tavern with the Keeler Kids programs offered at various times throughout the school year and at their summer camp.
  • The Ridgefield Library hosts a vast schedule of events and classes for tots to teens and encompasses everything from reading and writing to tech and art. Kids who love strategy and want to take game-playing to the next level will learn to think critically and problem-solve with Chess Club.
Keeler Kids
Chess at Ridgfield Library @dig_usa

3. Build Confidence Through Public Speaking

Another way children can become more confident is by learning and practicing public speaking skills. As students share, debate, and perform, they are seen as expert learners of the content they have studied or researched.

An essential component of any curriculum, it should begin in preschool. Whether the 3s are “Show and Sharing” their favorite stuffed animals or fourth-graders are delivering expressive monologues on stage, every student frequently engages in both public speaking and active listening. You can take a similar approach at home, encouraging your kids to share or discuss various topics in front of the family.

Students practicing public speaking together
Ridgefield Academy students each deliver a speech at graduation

Public speaking also provides opportunities to demonstrate leadership. At Ridgefield Academy for example, third-graders listen to second-graders’ autobiography presentations and provide feedback before the students address a larger audience. When public speaking is naturally integrated into the curriculum, it helps reduce anxiety around the experience. By building foundational public speaking skills at a young age, students become not only comfortable but also confident addressing an audience by the time they deliver their eighth-grade graduation speech.

Miss Confident was founded in 2019 by local mom Brooke with the mission to help growing girls feel good about themselves.

Community Spotlight: We’re also fortunate to be home to a local business with a mission to inspire confidence. Not just another children’s shop, Miss Confident offers apparel for teens and tweens which is intentionally “selected to inspire confidence in growing girls.” They proudly give back to the community through various local youth programs including the Ridgefield Boys & Girls Club, elementary schools, and boys’ and girls’ sports teams alike.

4. Support Social-Emotional Skills

In addition to becoming expert learners, developing social-emotional skills boosts children’s self-confidence and equips them for the future. Though one-on-one attention may be easy in the home setting, smaller class sizes and focused help are key in the classroom, too. Because when teachers lead small classes, they can provide personalized support.

At Ridgefield Academy, multi-tiered SEL programming also brings experts to the school. Presenters from The Center for Empowerment and Education in Danbury, CT conduct differentiated workshops for each age group. For kindergarteners, these workshops address topics like emotion management with a puppet show. For middle school students, workshops address more complex questions such as empathy, determining relationship health, and self-care in overwhelming situations. The school’s counselor and Student Support Team continually evaluate programming to support students, teachers, and families best.

The Center for Empowerment and Education presents a self-esteem workshop for students
Lower School students practice their reading skills with the dogs from ROAR

Confident kids are happy kids and there is no shortage of ways to support them on their journey to becoming confident adults. By focusing on their individual needs and interests, encouraging public speaking of all kinds, and supporting social-emotional awareness and growth, your child will be well on their way to the self-assured and poised person they’re meant to be!

Ridgefield Academy's Buddy Program helps to build confidence, leadership, and a sense of community
Ridgefield Academy's Graduation ceremony