Teach your child to be confident and active

Families that are physically active are healthier. Families that spend time playing games, going to the park, the beach, and enjoying the outdoors will be enjoying good health and sharing a great bond with each other. 

Children are all different and families are unique too. Your eldest had his nose buried in a book, and your youngest child is very sensitive. A harsh word from a teacher or friend results in floods of tears. While coaches, and adult motivators, encourage adults to build confidence and self-esteem by facing up to their fears and build up their resilience, this type of motivation is not appropriate for children at all. 

A child’s self-esteem and confidence is built up much more slowly, as they master tasks, and learn to believe in their own ability. While the same principles apply to adults, adults are much more resilient and able to handle both positive, and negative feedback, without it damaging their self-esteem. 

Focus On The Effort Not The Results

Adults tend to be results driven, and are able to work towards a goal. Children do not have the same mental capacity to work towards a future goal. Their minds are not sophisticated enough to think very far past the present moment, or the next few days, or so on. A child’s perception of time is very different to an adult’s.

You need to teach your child to be independent, but, in a very controlled way. 

1 .  Praise! Praise! Praise!

Focus On The Effort Only

Independence and mastery of small tasks, at a young age, will help to grow your child’s sense of achievement and begin to build their self-esteem. For example, learning to catch and throw a ball seems like a simple task to an adult, but it requires a high level of coordination and good motor skills to focus on the ball, the height, understand how to move your hands, and how to aim. 

Ball skills are learned through practice, and children need to be praised. ‘Good job, darling!’, ‘You are so clever to catch the ball, dear’, ‘ Aren’t you so happy, you caught the ball!’,‘ I knew you could do it.’ While your son, or daughter, may have missed the first five balls and only caught the last one, you should always give positive feedback.

Your child is learning to catch a ball. You need to highlight the catch, and not the ten balls dropped. A child’s sense of confidence and esteem is not internal only, but linked directly to their parents’ view of them. 

2. Age Appropriate Activities, Tasks & Games 

Set Your Child Up For Success

Mastering physical activities, playing games and having fun, as a family, is a great way to improve your child’s health and helps to build up confidence. When you are spending time together as a family, it’s important to choose age-appropriate activities. 

Never set your child up for failure. Watching them struggle and struggle, and fall apart, because the task is too hard, will damage their confidence. Choose games and equipment that your child can master easily. 

Younger children are not able to understand the rules of games that older children play. Rather explain that you have a special game, for your youngest to play, and play a game they are familiar with or teach them a new one that is simple - hide and seek, a ball game, playing statues, the balancing game. 

The idea here is that you don’t want a younger child to play a game that they are not able to master. Mastery is the key to building confidence. Success breeds success. 

3.  “I can do it!’’

These are words that you want to hear, but you need to assess whether your child is able to actually do the task. Playtime and active family time will give you a chance to assess your child’s coordination, their strength, and their ability to focus and to balance, and see how well coordinated they are. 

Can they really do it? It’s not that you want to say “no,” but you need to develop your child’s self-esteem. Letting your toddler choose their own clothes, is great, and helping them to dress, is a great example, of an age appropriate task. 

Remember to praise them on a job well done. Older children also need praise and constant empowerment. If your son scores a winning goal, or your daughter, for that matter, you need to praise them and encourage them to learn positive self-talk. Verbal praise and teaching your children to also praise themselves, and recognizing that the ‘good’ feeling is linked to their actions, is important. 

Your belief in their ability, and teaching your child to believe in their own mastery, helps to build self-confidence. 

4. What Are Your Child’s Interests? 

Special Classes or Fun In The Park?

Make sure activity time is fun and a little bit adventurous. Young children have short attention spans and cannot concentrate for a long time on one game. Young children also benefit from structured activity time - you may consider classes for your child that matches their interests. You don’t need to supervise every activity that your child does. 

You can enroll your child variety of classes - junior horse riding classes, ice skating, tennis, or a sport that they are interested in learning. Be sure to chat with the coach about your expectations regarding positive praise and be firm - negative criticism is not acceptable.

All children enjoy having fun with their family. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to play games with your child or take your children to a park. Green spaces are mentally stimulating, and there is a lot to see and do. 

Pick flowers, play catch, take along a few water guns. Family fun and games are a great way for a family to bond and to be active. Active children are happy children, and it’s a great way to help boost your child’s confidence too. 

Teaching your child to ride a balance bike, push bike, or bicycle will help to boost their self-confidence, and exercise of all kinds helps to develop your child’s muscles and motor skills. 

Conclusion

Encouraging your child to be independent and teaching them to master tasks will help to develop their self-esteem. Children are not as resilient as adults and are not able to work towards goals in the same way that adults can. Their perception of time is totally different. Parents need to schedule family activities and play time, with appropriate age-related games and tasks. 

Physical activity, from sports to learning to dress yourself, is all about learning to master tasks. From learning how to pull up your socks and button a jersey, to shooting a basketball through a hoop - all these tasks are mastered by developing fine, and larger, motor skills. The fine movements required of your child’s fingers to balance a ball or button a jersey, to propelling ball through a hoop, are all learnt over time. 

Setting your child up for success from an early age will help them to develop strong self-esteem and confidence. Being an active family means that you are continuously helping your child to conquer the world around them - whether you are supervising activities or providing classes for your child to attend… queen of the swings… Karate Kid... future CEO…

Hi! I am Jim Stevens, author of ToysAdvisors.Net. I have two kids, a naughty boy and a very cute baby girl. I always want to make them happy, and I love to share my experiences about parenting.

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