Learning

I can do it!

Not all children are born with the boundless confidence and self-esteem needed to cope with life’s challenges. Grant Smith, VP of Education at kids coding experts Code Ninjas*, shares some activities parents can introduce at home to give kids that all important boost.

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‘Levels of confidence will inevitably come and go throughout childhood. As parents, it’s important to recognise when our child is faltering, and find ways we can help,’ says Grant. ‘These simple but effective approaches should help to instil confidence in children of all ages.’

Set some goals

Setting goals, big and small, will provide your little one with something to work towards. By achieving them, kids feel solid and confident in their abilities. If, at first, they are unable to achieve them, breaking down these goals into realistic benchmarks will give children something to strive for and build the resilience they will need in everyday life. Unrealistic goals can demotivate your child, so make sure they are attainable. Often the most challenging part is just getting started, so setting an easy, fun goal as the first task gets things off to a good start.

Children need to trust in their capabilities while, at the same time, understand that they can handle it if they are not successful at something. By rebounding from failure, they develop healthy self-confidence.

Giving them the opportunity to make their own decisions can build strong self-esteem and good judgement.

Let them take the lead

Taking part in a game or getting involved in arts and crafts with your children and letting them lead will help them to feel valued. Small children enjoy learning much more when parents take an interest and participate in the game. Putting them in charge can make them feel confident and empowered, boosting their metacognitive skills: an awareness of their own thought processes and an understanding of the patterns behind them. Giving them the opportunity to make their own decisions can build strong self-esteem and good judgement.

As parents, we should always be sure that children know the limits of their decisions. But allowing them to decide the rules of a game, or choosing which colour paints to use for arts and crafts, is a great starting point for building self-awareness and self-assurance.

Assign tasks

By assigning age-appropriate responsibilities around the house, such as making the bed, picking up toys or feeding the pet, your child will feel valued by making significant contributions. After children complete a task, like helping to set the table, they can make the connection that they played a key role in the family’s dinnertime.

It can be difficult as parents to resist the urge to redo their work if it isn't quite up to your standard. Instead, help your child learn the important message that they are a significant and contributing member of the family. Praise can go a long way in instilling confidence in your child, so do reward them for a job well done!

Encourage them to try new things

Children who lack confidence often shy away from trying new things or taking on challenges. Introducing a new game, activity or hobby and encouraging them to get involved will help them feel more capable of trying fresh things and developing new skills in the outside world.

It helps to encourage children to diversify and build confidence by introducing activities that are just outside of their comfort zone. This gives them the belief that they can tackle challenges that comes their way. Trying new things can be daunting at first, so be especially supportive and acknowledge any initial feelings of uncertainty your child may have.

Practice yoga

Yoga is not just for adults! It’s an excellent physical outlet for children to express themselves and help manage any anxieties. Practising yoga allows children to develop self-awareness and mindfulness whilst doing wonders for their self-esteem.

Developing this skill and reaching goals like perfecting a pose or improving balance can provide your child with a sense of accomplishment and empowerment.

Take on STEM challenges

STEM-based activities can teach your child way more than science and mathematics concepts. STEM activities that encourage your child to make mistakes, learn from them and try again can help boost resilience and the ability to overcome setbacks.

Whether building a boat that can float or creating a bridge that can hold weight from recyclable materials at home, such activities stimulate curiosity and develop future-proof skillsets such as problem-solving, creativity and patience. As parents, working on these challenges alongside your child is an excellent opportunity to bond and develop teamwork skills as you work together towards a goal.

*Code Ninjas offer junior programmes targeted at five- to seven-year-olds that allow children to express their creativity and imagination in a safe and open environment, while developing skills such as teamwork, confidence and communication.

Visit https://www.codeninjas.com/locations-list/gb to find a programme at a location near you.

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