Building Confidence in Children

Thank you to John Bishop of Teaching Moments for sharing today's posting. I always find John's recommendations to be so helpful, not only for children but also for myself.  My father frequently implemented this philosophy with us and I find myself subconsciously doing this with my own boys.

How do you build your child’s self-esteem? I’ve used this idea with my grandson and hope it will help you.

I tell him “Always leave on a good note.”

The easiest way to show you how we use it might be a sports analogy, but the concept can be used any time you want to help your child succeed.

If my grandson Kyle and I have been shooting baskets and it’s time to leave, I will say, “One more basket and then we have to go.” Then I add, “Always leave on a good note.” He knows we will stay until he makes that last all-important basket. Why is that last shot so important? Because it is the one he will remember.

He knows that by making the last shot he has been successful on the basketball court and that he has “left it on a good note.” Kyle loves it. He leaves the basketball court as a successful shot maker. That success is his memory of shooting baskets with his grandfather.

We use that same confidence building concept in other areas.

For example, if he is having problems with a particular night’s math homework, we will “always leave it on a good note.” In this case, after he has successfully completed one of the math problems we might stop for a 5 to 10 minute break. I’ll let him do something else for the short break and then we will finish the night’s math homework. It is amazing how that successful completion of a math problem and a short break refocuses his attitude for the balance of the homework assignment.

Try the “always leave on a good note” concept. Before long your children will be using the expression themselves, and without fully understanding what is happening, they will be building on their personal success, one successfully completed event after another.

Ideas for Implementation:

1. It is vitally important to be patient with your child. In the beginning it took Kyle 5 minutes to make that last basket, but he never felt rushed.

2. Use the “Always leave it on a good note” statement often, so your child starts to think in those terms.

3. Congratulate your child on a job well done.

Recommended Resource:

Goal Setting for Students by John Bishop


Lisa Hendey, Catholic wife and mom, is the founder and webmaster of and the author of A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms: 52 Companions for Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul and The Handbook for Catholic Moms: Nurturing Your Heart, Mind, Body and Soul. Lisa writes for several online and print publications, enjoys speaking around the country and hosts the Catholic Moments Podcast. Visit her at

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  • Guest

    This is a great idea. Thank you!