Confidence is the appreciation of one’s own abilities. Research shows that academic confidence and positive academic performance are linked together. A confident student is more likely to pursue more challenging goals and actively search out new solutions than a student who does not feel so confident in themselves.
Fortunately, student confidence is malleable, and it’s something that we as a community can care for, nurture, and grow. Academic confidence begins at home, and it begins with our day to day interactions with our families.
Here are seven actions that we, as moms, tías, and abuelitas can take to help our children’s confidence thrive and propel them forward.
1) Help your child his/her natural talent.
Every child has a special skill and talent that is an innate gift. Some of our children are artists, others are writers, dancers, healers, singers, and light creators. Give them room to grow and find their natural talent. What is your child interested in? What catches his/her attention? What motivates your child? Is there a talent that your child has even if he/she has never had formal instruction?
Knowing that you have a special talent or skill, no matter how simple, has a way of building confidence. What is your child’s super power?
2) Teach your child to prepare a meal.
I have a beautiful memory of my children being three and five and making breakfast for me. The three-year-old would peel mandarins while my five year old would pour milk, toast bread, and top it with butter and jelly. We would sit at the breakfast table, and enjoy.
There was sheer enjoyment to having me eat a breakfast that they “cooked.”
3) Let them be of service.
Can your learner help with that?
Can they organize a bookshelf or the silverware drawer? Can they turn your junk drawer into a utility drawer? Can they make the grocery list?
Whether helping an elder, a mentor or a younger family member, let your child have the privilege of being able to serve. Being needed is important, and even more so, when the need is genuine.
4) Let your student be a mentor.
Just like a college student can help a high school student prepare for the next step, a high school student can help a middle school child adjust to a new schedule. A middle school kid can walk an elementary school kid to school. A 5th grader can read to a 2nd grader, and that 2nd grader can teach a kindergartener the alphabet.
When you are young, the learning curve is big, and the abilities to mentor are large. Let your student mentor a younger child and watch a more comfortable person emerge.
5) Compliment them.
Your child cannot hear enough praise from you. Praise your student and offer sincere compliments.
Let them know you like their hair, their smile, their outfit or even just their choice of breakfast. Tell them they make you happy. Let them know how special you feel to be able to spend time with them. Remind them of how wonderful they are.
Sometimes parents don’t want to coddle their kids, or they want them to be prepared for the “real world.” In the “real world,” no one is going to praise you just for showing up, but your children will never earn any praise if they do not feel good enough about themselves to actually show up.
6) Be confident in yourself.
How can your child believe that your opinion is worthwhile, if you don’t value your opinion yourself? It is important for us to lead by example. While you are concentrating on raising your child’s confidence, make sure to do a quick check in with yours.
7) Surround your children with people who genuinely like them.
There is something to be said for “tough love,” but there is also something very valuable in real, genuine pleasure in spending time with people.
Make sure that your students are surrounded by people who make them feel good about themselves.
Thank you for taking the time to read seven simple ways that you can help raise your child’s confidence. How many of these tips do you already use?
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