Imagine if you had to change your workplace once a year. Every fall, you have a new boss, new project demands, unfamiliar expectations, and maybe even a different building. This would create a tremendous amount of stress for you, but this is essentially what our children do every new school year. Change can erode a child's confidence simply because they are trying so hard to learn the ropes of a new grade. How can families continue to support students at the beginning of the school year, while also building confidence?
1. Outline Routines and Structures
Before the school year begins, outline your child's routines and structures both before, during, and after the school day. Creating and rehearsing routines gives children a sense of security, and builds confidence that they can tackle a brand new year. If your child's school offers an orientation, take advantage of this by going with your child to meet teachers, set up lockers, and walk through their schedule.
2. Recognize Effort, Not Outcome
It's essential to reward the effort your child makes when tackling academic and leisure activities. When a child gets out of their comfort zone to try out for a sports team or musical production, puts in concentrated effort to complete homework and projects, or doesn't quit when a task becomes difficult, this is all worthy of your praise! Even if a new activity doesn't work out as he/she would have hoped, point out how proud you are of how hard he/she tried. Ask your child what he/she enjoyed about the experience, if it's something your child would like to build on in the future, or one new thing he/she learned from the attempt.
3. Be a Positive Role Model
As adults, it's easy to slip into negative self-talk--just remember your kids pick up on these messages. If you don't think highly of yourself, how can you encourage your child to develop their own sense of confidence? If something doesn't work out in your own life, feel free to express disappointment. However, make sure your child hears you express the pleasure you felt in trying something new.
Cultivating confident children is a continuous process. Look for ways that you can provide structures, routines, and areas of praise to build your child's self-worth during the school year.
For over a decade, we’ve helped over 30,000 children improve the critical skills needed to create a brighter path for their future. Contact us online to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help. You can also view the research and results of the program on the website.