GAMECHANGER’s ultimate objective is to build children’s confidence. By supporting children outside of the large class setting, before the big tryout or game, and before performing at the upcoming concert, GAMECHANGER helps empower children. However, multiple factors play into a child’s confidence level, and every child needs to understand that being confident can make you a stronger and more successful person.
Every child can excel at being himself. As parents, you can boost your child’s self-esteem by placing value in your child’s unique personality and strengths. There are several ways that you can help your child grow into a more confident person.
1 – Set your child up to succeed. Find something at which your child excels and encourage her to build on this talent. Strike a balance between pushing and coddling, and help your child build realistic expectations. It doesn’t matter what your child is doing, just encourage her to practice and follow through with it. If your seven-year-old can do a perfect cartwheel, encourage her to pursue gymnastics. If your 12-year-old is a great story-teller, encourage her to write these stories down on paper. Be certain that your child understands that you value who she is and that you are encouraging her to build on her strengths. Set goals, and help your child to succeed.
2 – Promote problem solving. Rather than coming to your child’s rescue, teach your child how to rescue himself. Children are most confident when they are comfortable stating their opinions and negotiating what they want. Parents often see this when their child wants a toy, new video game, more “plugged in” hours, or even an extra special chocolate treat. Help your child to transfer these skills out of the home and into the classroom and onto the playground. Rather than solving the problem for your child, suggest that he come up with a list of potential approaches and solutions for his current predicament. Teaching your child how to negotiate and problem solve will help him to be successful in different social, academic, and ultimately, life situations.
3 – Let your child make decisions. When you let your child make decisions from a young age, you are empowering her. This doesn’t mean letting them run the show; children need guidance. Set limits but choose your battles. If you give your child options, she will feel as if she has some control over her fate. Rather than deciding when your child will practice piano, ask her if she would like to practice in the morning or afternoon. Rather than choosing your child’s outfit, suggest that she pick out a shirt that she would like to wear with her plaid shorts. By simply giving your child a say, they will gain both decision-making skills and confidence.
4 – Give your child responsibilities. Giving a child a sense of purpose and responsibility builds self-esteem. Children can help out with basic chores from an early age. Three-year-olds can help to set a table and help with basic cooking tasks. Four-year-olds can help sort laundry by colors. These simple tasks will help your child to understand that he is accountable and has responsibilities. By giving your child simple responsibilities, he should develop respect for you and be more careful with his personal belongings. Ultimately, these responsibilities will help your child to develop a sense of boundaries and a greater sense of self.
5 – Don’t rescue your child. Let your child make mistakes and teach them to take responsibility for those mistakes. Of course, you don’t want your child to get hurt. Sometimes it seems easier to call that coach to suggest that your child receive more playtime in the basketball game or to meet with that teacher who doesn’t like your child’s writing style. But in the long run, this will not teach your child to self-advocate. If she knows how to advocate for herself, she will become more confident. You can guide your child, telling her to speak to her coach, asking her how she could change her writing to accommodate the teacher’s expectations, and suggesting that she treat people the way that she would like to be treated. Rather than putting a short-term bandage on the situation, you will be teaching your child how to confidently face different situations and contend with different personalities.
In addition to these suggestions, it is important that you maintain a balanced yet optimistic outlook. Offer suggestions. Help your child to feel as if he can achieve his goals. Help your child put together a workable plan to achieve those goals. In the end, children with strong self-esteem tend to be more successful socially, academically, and throughout their adult life.