Instilling confidence in children of age Group 4-7 years.

Instilling confidence in children of age Group 4-7 years.

“With confidence, you have won before you have started.”–Marcus Garvey.

According to Carl Pickhardt, psychologist and author of many parenting books, a child that lacks confidence will be reluctant to try new or challenging things because they fear failing or disappointing others. So, one of the greatest gifts that we as parents can give our children is Confidence.  We at Sherwood high, always try our best to inculcate confidence in our students from the early part of their life. In this article, we’ll see the many ways in which parents can help induce Confidence in children.

What is confidence?

Confidence is defined as “a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.”

Simply put, Confidence is Believing in oneself, without doubting one’s skills and knowing what one is capable of. Some children are naturally confident, whereas others need a lot of coaxing before they’d even say ‘hi’. This becomes important in various platforms, be it public or private. Kids need to be confident in order to do something as basic as express themselves, with parents, or teachers, caregivers, with friends, in a classroom, the playground. Many kids often keep to themselves fearing ridicule or coming out as unreasonable. Worrying if they would make a joke out of themselves is one of the principal reasons children don’t speak up on a public front. As parents and caregivers, it is for us to help them get over this fear and grow up as confident individuals.

1. Appreciate Efforts

The first step in this would be to appreciate efforts irrespective of the outcome. Whether the child excels in a task or fails miserably, we as parents need to applaud the effort. Winning or losing should not make a difference in our appreciation. Failure should not make them lose heart or feel embarrassed for trying. The fact that we appreciate their efforts, no matter the outcome, will boost their confidence in trying to better and trying harder. We should encourage patience and teach them to practice. As with patience and practice, children achieve great heights at what initially might have felt like an impossible task. We should respect the child’s interests and encourage them in their practice, but we need to be careful about not putting pressure on the child.

2. Have Age appropriate expectations

We cannot expect our children to act like grown-ups. The comparative standard should not be with the full-grown adult; that will only set unrealistic expectations which may discourage their effort. For example, a 4-year-old could be expected to be self-trained in hygiene and dressing themselves, but we cannot expect a 4-year-old to self-discipline. We cannot always supervise what the child does, so any activity that could cause harm or risk with sharp objects, gas, fire should be introduced age appropriately. We could always encourage them with simple tasks like helping with decorations, watering plants, helping with safe chores. Parents may feel that their children are exemplary in certain areas and limiting them to age-related play may curb their potential, but making the children strive to meet advanced age-related expectations can also reduce confidence to a great extent. So if you see a child excels in something; encourage, appreciate, and help, but never pressurise.

3. Encourage curiosity

We should never get irritated or annoyed by children’s endless questions. Every child goes through the “why” phase, which is a very essential part of their growth and development. Curiosity helps children to observe more and to think and try to figure things out.  As William Arthur Ward said, “Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.” When children are supported to explore their curiosity, their vocabulary expands exponentially, as they use language to try to describe what they see, hear, think, or experience.

4. Avoid discouragement and Criticism

Do not discourage your child’s performance by using criticism or shame. Giving helpful feedback suggestions and even telling them how to do a better job is fine, but you can never tell them they are doing a poor job. This may feel at odds with the way the majority of our generation had been brought up, reprimanding, and criticism, even harsh approaches being generally used towards children when they fail. For example,  when children were very fearful of the times, they had to get their mark sheets signed.  This never really works and will negatively impact the child’s emotional and mental well-being, let alone drop their confidence manifolds. When a child does something, keeping in mind the end result; that is, if the kid is afraid of failing, as they worry that the parent will be angry or would be disappointed in them, then they’d never try new things. Criticism and shaming by parents reduce the child’s self-worth and motivation.

5. Take an active part in their activities

Next is being part of their activities; be it games, education, extracurricular activities that the child is interested in. By joining in with the child’s activities, we send across the idea that what he/she is doing is important and it is worth our time. So when parents engage and join and enjoy a child-led activity, the kid feels worthy, valuable, important, and accomplished. Being part of their activities, asking their opinions, or even giving them new challenges, are all things showing that we have been part of their activities which can help them grow confidence. For example, we can be part of small goals, like helping them learn to ride a cycle and help them reach the bigger goal of learning to ride by themselves, the same applies to swimming or any activity that needs to be taught and practiced before the child learns it.

6. Help them learn from past mistakes

Teach them that mistakes are building blocks for learning. Learning from mistakes actually builds confidence and shows them that mistake or failure is actually an opportunity to learn and do better. Do not be worried that the failure may impact your child, do not intervene, do not teach shortcuts. It is ok to fail now and then and to try again. Help them understand that they can do better with a fresh approach, towards the same task the next time that they tried. Teach them ways of improving and bettering themselves and encourage patience with each trial.

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