So this whole confidence thing. It's huge. Being resilient, having a strong sense of self-esteem is another biggie, a healthy habit we need to help our kids build. How can you be sure you are doing all you can to solidify that belief in herself, that you are giving her every single bit of strength she needs to be resilient and confident when she is out and about in her world?
It is an ongoing thing. And when I think about it, it is still ongoing for myself - I mean, we all have says where we don't feel confident, situations where we feel a little less than sure, right The experts say we can start helping our kids cultivate this essential life skill when they are young. In every day moments, there is opportunity to feed that fire. Check out these how-tos:
-- Let your kiddo make mistakes. The struggle to get to the end of a new task, that journey no matter the outcome is how they build their confidence muscles. That means letting them mess up, try again, and figure out how to zip that coat, finish that maze, whatever it is without you intervening.
-- Remember, it isn't just about letting them fail, it is how they deal with the failures and mess-ups. Yes, you need to let your kids try something and they may not succeed. But it is the support they get from us, from coaches, from teachers from siblings when they fail and how they then think about the situation - that they can get up, dust themselves off and try again is the key part of this, not the failing.
-- Be specific when you give kudos and always find something positive in every situation. Instead of saying "Good job!" or "You're a great big sister!," think about what they did. Try "You were really focused on the ball!" or "That extra practice on your letters really seemed to help!" or "That was very nice when you helped your brother get his coat on." This places the emphasis on actions he made, not the end result, which is essential in terms of dealing with situations when the result isn't so great.
-- Keep your own expectations of your children in check. If your child is lacking a bit in a skill you excelled in or that his peers are doing better at, remember that he is different than you and different than his friends. He may not be the best at T-ball, but maybe he will swing a gold club better or be a top speller in his class. Be sure not to place importance on making the team. Instead, place your emphasis on how he does for himself, like trying really hard and practicing and improving his own skills.
-- Remind your kids they have a choice. I love this piece of advice. In every situation, your child has a choice on how she acts in it and reacts to the outcome, how she feels and what she does about those feelings. Realizing this empowers your kid, which boosts their confidence even if the situation isn't what they had hoped. She can sit and cry that she struck out and pout or she can feel sad and then chose to remember that she made a good catch at third and then work on her swing a bit more with you at home. These are choices she alone can make, which is a powerful lesson to learn and one that will help her be more confident in every part of her life.
-- Teach them gratitude and purpose. When your kids are grateful and feel blessed in their lives and they know they have other goals then losing that ball game doesn't seem as weighty. You can do this by encouraging them to work on other activities that help others -- like a lemonade stand that gives the proceeds to a charity or a reading-a-thon when they raise money for their church with pledges from others if they read a certain number of books in a month. Keeping a sense of their place in the world around them really helps them in those situations to try again and keep going.
Share your best confidence building ideas!