One of the more disheartening comments a parent, teacher or childcare professional is apt to hear from a child is "I can’t’ or it’s too hard." These comments often hint at insecurities or low self-esteem. There may be a myriad of reasons why a child lacks confidence; sometimes it’s merely a matter of development and may come with age. Yet it’s important to nurture children’s self-esteem so that they can grow and thrive with a positive state of mind intact and ready to tackle future challenges in school and life. The following tips can help parents, educators or childcare workers find ways to promote students to feel better about themselves and what they can accomplish.
In order to acknowledge and praise a child’s good behavior, the surrounding adults have to first be in tune with what is happening with that child and notice it. It’s easy to notice the negative behaviors, but it’s the positive behaviors and their acknowledgement that can boost a kid’s self-esteem’“when they are acknowledged! When you see a child do something well, be sure to congratulate the child privately, publically, or maybe even both. Kids will feel special when you make a special point to speak with them in private about their positive actions, but it is also gratifying for them to be recognized for something special in front of their peers.
Kids that get down on themselves and believe they lack the ability to accomplish things often just require a bit if proof that, indeed, they can do it and can master skills and tasks like other children. In order for that to happen, they need to be presented with age-appropriate tasks and challenges that they can independently surmount. If they can’t do something themselves, they’ll know it and the self-esteem boost might be compromised. If they can accomplish something they set out to on their own, they will experience a jolt of confidence. With enough of these proofs in their ability, their self-esteem is apt to grow.
Communicate With Not At:
When instructors or caregivers engage in a give and take conversation with a child, they learn instinctively that they are worthy of such a level of communication. In their own eyes, they grow to become worthy of such conversations. Yet when a child is talked at, they remain more of an object even to themselves because that’s how they’ve been treated’“one of the students’“one of the anonymous students that doesn’t necessarily stand out one way or another. Make each student feel valuable simply by encouraging their input and sharing with them in meaningful ways that promote a two-way dialogue.
These are some simple yet very effective tips for encouraging selfesteem and confidence in kids. Adults can have such immense impact on children’s mental development; be sure to take steps to make sure that impact is positive. In fact, that may be the most important part of entering an occupation caring for children’“to make that emotional difference in their lives.
Ian Humphrey is a Youth Motivational Speaker in Colorado with a gift for connecting with difficult students and helping them see their obstacles as opportunities. His Professional Development program, The A.C.T. Strategy also gives educators tips and tools to make an immediate impact in the lives of their most difficult students.
Book him to speak at your next event and you will be pleased with the results.