Spend Time, Build Memories, Get Help, Give Compliments and Share Love!
Many children at some point in their development have an experience or situation in their life that lowers their self-esteem and confidence. Believing that they can’t accomplish a task, or that they are not good enough for a team, for example, could prevent them from taking advantage of opportunities at school and could eventually impact their academics. Having confidence means that students feel good about themselves, are open and willing to try new things, ask questions that foster a healthy sense of curiosity. If you’ve noticed that your student seems down in the dumps and their confidence is low, there are ways in which you can help.
Take a little Time
We all have very busy schedules, but it’s important to make time each day to spend with your child. Just a little time spent together will make them feel loved and important. Even if it’s just ten minutes, give them your undivided attention, make eye contact and ask questions about their lives. They need to know that they are your priority and that you care about their thoughts and feelings.
Watch your Words
Many parents are quick to recognize and comment on negative behavior or actions. We sometimes don’t acknowledge when our kids say something good or do something positive. It’s important to focus on the things your student does well and give them positive encouragement. Reinforce your compliments with a shoulder squeeze, a high five, a touch on the arm or even a hug!
Take the time to build memories with your student. Pancake breakfasts, camping trips, family holidays and trips to the beach are life’s little moments that make the best memories. These lasting memories will bring you closer together as a family.
Give them the Help they Need
Does your student’s teacher know who you are? Check in regularly on your student’s progress, getting monthly updates on what they need help with. Teachers have a unique insight into your student’s progress both academically and even socially at times. When you take an interest in your student, are present at school, open and receptive to advice and help, it shows your student the support they need.
Should your student’s teacher feel they are falling behind, be open to suggestions. Going after school for extra help, getting a one on one tutor, all these suggestions will be helpful to your student. It’s hard to admit when our children are struggling, but getting them the help they require can prevent academic issues from affecting their self-esteem.
Ditch Generic Compliments
‘Well done’, ‘good game’ and compliments of this nature aren’t actually helpful to your student. While they do offer a positive message, these kinds of words are too general to really have an effect. Instead, reserve your praise for when it’s earned and be specific in your compliments. For example, instead of ‘well played’ say; “I really liked the way you shared the ball. That last pass to Sam was brilliant!”
Love what your Kids Love
Sure, at this stage you may want to kill Elsa from Frozen and you don’t care about this weekend’s football scores, but loving what your kids love is a way to connect with them, and to validate their interests. Listen actively, ask questions and comment enthusiastically. Sure, this means you will have to participate in their interests and hobbies, but it will make them feel valued, important and loved.