Written by Maisarah Firuz

Emellia Shariff (centre) speaks to Aisha Zanariah (left) and Riyadh Dahalan (right) in the second episode of our latest podcast

As we reflect on the past three years since the pandemic reshaped our lives, its profound impact on parenting is undeniable. Shared concerns grew over children’s emotional and social development as they grappled with reduced social interactions and increased screen time, as warranted by a 2023 finding. Amid these unprecedented challenges, it’s crucial to reclaim what’s lost and actively nurture children’s confidence in this rapidly changing world, while we still can.

Emellia Shariff, the CEO of MIDP, Malaysia’s leading and award-winning soft skills education institution, spoke to two parents, Aisha Zanariah (Early Childhood Education Expert and Founder of Sri Kayangan Montessori) and Riyadh Dahalan (MIDP Parent and Director of Government Engagement, Mastercard). Together, they share their personal perspectives on raising confident and engaging children as we transition beyond the pandemic era. Here are the 3 takeaway tips.

Tip 1: Communicate with Your Children

From our conversation with Aisha and Riyadh, it’s clear that communication is key to building confidence in children. As parents, encourage them to express themselves freely without fear of judgement. Be curious, listen actively to their thoughts and feelings and offer support when needed. By fostering an environment of open communication, you create a safe space for your children to develop self-assurance and self-expression.

A simple tip is to ask them, “How are you doing at school?” over dinner and listen attentively to their response. Emellia shares, “When I was growing up, dinner was such an important moment of the day where my mother would check in on everyone, and I realised that fostering open communication during these times not only strengthened our bond but also nurtured our confidence to express ourselves freely.”

Tip 2: Modelling Confidence & Being Their Cheerleader

“In order to enjoy being with your children, you’ve got to be one of them,” shares Aisha.

Parents are the primary role models for their children and children learn by observing and emulating their behaviour. Therefore, it’s crucial to model confidence in your own actions and words. Show them how to handle challenges calmly and positively while they try something new. One of the most powerful ways to boost children’s confidence is by being their biggest cheerleader, offering genuine praise for their efforts, no matter how small. While doing so, it’s essential to focus on the process rather than just the outcome. This way, you help instil a sense of competence and self-belief in your children, empowering them to tackle challenges with confidence and enthusiasm progressively.

Tip 3: Building Their Resilience

“As parents, we have the responsibility to prepare our children for the future.” – Riyadh Dahalan.

“I challenge my daughter by exposing her to different social situations, which helps nurture and develop her social skills,” Riyadh shares. Challenges are inevitable in life, and helping your children learn to overcome them builds resilience and confidence. Note it’s crucial to introduce challenges in a healthy and supportive manner tailoring to their interests and needs. This approach teaches them to view challenges as opportunities for growth and learning rather than obstacles to fear.

In a nutshell, raising confident children requires a combination of modelling, continuous encouragement, and nurturing resilience. By practising these 3 tips, you can empower your children to navigate the complexities of life with confidence and self-assurance.

And remember, do it with a whole lot of love.

For more nuggets of wisdom on how to be the best version of yourself, listen to this podcast. For more info on MIDP and the great work that we do to help you improve yourself, explore our website!