In the mother’s email to us, she felt that her children performed so well “… as the result is clearly a joint effort of building confidence from parents [LAMDA] and childminder”.
In children, confidence and self-esteem go hand-in-hand. One builds on the other. Good levels of self-esteem play a positive role in children’s behavior, self-belief and learning. This brings about confidence.
High levels of self-esteem means children are more likely to be able to act independently, be positive about attempting new tasks (rather than shying away from them) and be happy and confident at making their own decisions.
In my setting, I work hand-in-hand with parents and other care providers (such as schools) to build into my activities things that will increase self-esteem and confidence. Here are my tips that parents can also try at home:
Praise children’s efforts
This means that whatever they do, be it a scribbled drawing, card, or a song that is horribly out of tune, always praise their work. Do it there and then and even better if it is in front of friends and relatives.
Use positive language
Rather than using negative language, focus on giving things a positive spin and offering encouragement. Even the most reserved and nervous children respond to this in a incredible way.
Provide a safe and supportive environment
This means more than making sure that they don’t hurt themselves. It means creating an environment where the child knows they are safe from their feels being hurt and supportive in trying new things and failing if necessary.
Encourage to try new things
We don’t like the same old things done over and over again. Sure, there are some favourites that we keep coming back to, like making jelly or making masks. However, even within this, we will try something a little different. We are constantly developing activities and buying toys that will be something a little different yet keeping the same theme of learning and play.
Equal opportunity to be involved in activities at home
One of our “golden rules” is turn-by-turn. This encourages sharing and children are equally involved in all the activities. For the more shy children, this builds them up. For the more confident children, it teaches them to be respectful and share.
Create achievable challenges to aim for
In my experience, some parents expect quite a lot from their children. I did with mine! However, I make a great deal of effort to make sure that whatever I’m asking them to do, is challenging yet doable with a little help. This means that I’m not setting them up for failure and stretching them at the same time.
It is great when a child does something they previously wouldn’t dare to do and the effects are very long-lasting.
Help children learn to make decisions
I will encourage children to make decisions from the choices I offer them. For example, at lunch they can chose the colour of their plates. For the older children, I sometimes ask what they would choose in different situations. At playtime, they choose what to play with. Teaching children about decision making is also a good way of helping them learn to become more confident and self-assured about their own abilities.
Celebrate successes and improvements
You will have noticed that in the conservatory area at the back, I have started to showcase the work children have been doing. I’ve also started to display the “Wow” cards and photos of the good work they have been doing. This is about celebrating what they have achieved. As children see their work and that of others, they feel good about themselves.
Lead by example
Harder to do all the time, especially when you’ve had a stressful day at the office. You have to constantly remind yourself that you have to lead by example as your children will very soon pick up on the positives and the negatives.
Turn children’s negatives into positives
Nothing our children do is ever bad or negative. Even spilling their glass of water can be turned into a positive. Look at how you can praise whatever negative they have done and by using a combination of techniques listed above, turn them into a positive.
As your child grows up, it’s only natural for self-esteem to suffer ups and downs. If your child has a good level of self-esteem and confidence to start off with, they’re better placed to bounce back and grow into self-assured individuals.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, April 27, 2016.