How to teach courage and bravery to kids

How to teach courage and bravery to kids

What are courage and bravery? They are some of the essential life skills that help kids to step outside of their comfort zones and try new things. This can lead to new experiences, learning, and growth. Here’s how to teach your child to harness their courage and be brave.

The importance of teaching courage and bravery to kids

According to research published in Psychological Studies, fostering courage and bravery can help kids become well-adjusted adults. It can help them to find their confidence, reduce social anxiety, and give them more emotional control and stress management abilities.


However, despite what many think, courage is not about expecting kids to be fearless. It’s about helping them face their fears, even when they’re scared, and showing them how to persevere in the face of adversity.


Doing this takes time and effort but it helps them to become responsible decision makers who are not afraid to venture out into the world and set and achieve goals




Tips for parents to teach courage to kids

  1. Lead by example. One good way to show your kids how to be brave is to show them how you do it yourself. Don’t be afraid to show them when you’re feeling scared and nervous, and how you make yourself be brave. Perhaps when doing a work presentation or when you're afraid to try something you haven’t done before. Explain to them how you find your courage despite your worries.

  2. Read stories about courageous people. There’re many great stories and films about brave people, both real and fictional. Reading these stories, and watching films can help kids learn about courage and see how it can be applied in their own lives.

  3. Talk to your child about their view of courage. Talk to kids about what courage and bravery mean to them. Do they think people are either brave or cowardly? Do they understand what being courageous means? Help them unravel their views so they can see they can be brave too.

  4. Explain courage and bravery are relative. What’s easy for one person is courageous for another, for instance, standing up and talking in front of the class, diving into a swimming pool, making new friends, or going somewhere alone. 

  5. Encourage kids to take risks. Taking risks and succeeding requires both bravery and courage. This can help them take more chances in the future, creating a positive cycle of growth and development. 

  6. Be supportive. When kids are facing their fears, it is important to be supportive and encouraging and not push them too hard. Let them know that you believe in them and are there for them.

  7. Provide opportunities for kids to practise courage. There are many everyday opportunities for kids to practise courage. For example, you could challenge them to try new food or ask a friend to play. You could also enrol them in activities that require courage, such as sports, drama, or debate.

  8. Talk about the different types of courage and bravery. Courage can be physical, emotional, and intellectual courage. Discuss these with your kids so they get a broad view of what it means to be brave.

  9. Celebrate their successes. When kids do something courageous, be sure to celebrate their accomplishments. This will help them to feel good about themselves and to build their confidence about taking risks.

  10. Help kids to identify when they have been brave. Was it when they got a vaccination, started a new school, tried a new sport or made a new friend? This helps kids to see that they are braver than they realise.



Activities to teach courage to kids

  • Learn to ride a bike.

Learning to ride a bike can be scary for children. They may fear falling, getting hurt, or being unable to do it. But teaching them shows them they can overcome their fears if they try.


  • Play games that involve taking risks.

Many games can help kids to learn about courage. For example, you could play Simon Says and have kids do things like jumping up and down, dancing alone or singing. You could also play charades if your child is afraid of doing things in front of others.


  • Climbing wall/GoApe

Climbing walls and GoApe can be challenging and frightening. Sometimes they may fall, get frustrated, or want to give up, but climbing teaches kids they can overcome challenges with courage.


  • Swimming

Swimming requires children to believe in themselves. They have to believe that they can do it, even when it's hard. This teaches them the importance of bravery and doing something even if they're scared.


  • Speaking up in class

Speaking in front of others can be daunting for kids (and adults), especially if they're afraid of being judged or making a mistake. But the more they do it despite their fears, the braver they will become.


  • Make a new friend.

Making new friends requires children to take risks. They must be willing to try new things and step outside their comfort zone, which requires a certain amount of courage.


  • Helping others

Helping others is a great way to teach kids about courage. When kids help others, they learn to step outside of their comfort zone and put the needs of others before their own. 


  • Facing their fears

Personal fears can be big and small, so it helps to teach kids to face their smaller fears first to build their courage and bravery. If they are afraid of talking to strangers, get them to pay a cashier at the supermarket; if they are scared of spiders, suggest they look at pictures first and then build to viewing one from a distance.


  • Stand up for what they believe in.

Getting your kids involved in an issue they are passionate about, such as protecting animals or the climate, can give them the courage to stand up for what they believe in, both online and in person.


  • Start their own business.

Nothing teaches older kids and teens to be brave and find courage more than starting their own business or finding a part-time job. It's out of their comfort zone and pushes them to do things independently, which builds their resilience.


How can GoHenry help?

GoHenry is a prepaid kids’ debit card that can help kids in several ways. Not only does it give kids the independence to use a debit card in the real world, but it also helps them learn about the value of money and how to make smart financial decisions. It teaches them about money management and the importance of tracking their spending, and also allows them to set savings goals. 






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Written by Anita Naik Published Nov 20, 2023 ● 4 min. read