Okay, how do I recognize confidence, or lack of it?
ask for help
Children who lack confidence:
get stuck in activities/requests and repeat them without pleasure
try to keep adults involved with them
in a mixed group, prefer to talk to adults
talk about adult issues/concerns
get frustrated easily
do things for negative attention
(In very young children, some of these latter things can indicate boredom. Of course, don’t “entertain them” but help them switch gears :”I see you are bored with these blocks. It is time to put them away and find something fun /go outside/feed the cat/ put your socks in your drawer.” Notes: I am not asking them, or listening when they protest. If they are not engaged, they are bored. if they are bored, it is my job to teach them how to get over being bored without having to pick a fight with me, the cat, the dog, or the blocks!)
To build confidence: if you have engaged adequately (they are not pining for a little adult one-on-one) change/create the environment (go outside and get so busy that they cannot get you engaged with them negatively, and have to find something to do), express confidence, don’t rescue or entertain, endure the learning curve (they don’t liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike it; it is uncomfortable), don’t get sucked into power struggles or the appearance of neediness, express more confidence, take care of yourself.
I believe, all children are hard wired for success, and all people must struggle a bit. A healthy child will seek out appropriate struggles, and take them on when they are ready.