Self-confidence is something that we learn throughout our lives and whilst some people naturally have more of it than others, we tend to become more confident and sure of ourselves as we grow older and gain more experience in life.
So it’s no surprise then that children can often be less confident than you might have realized and in particular, things like school and education can be very scary, the pressures of exams and testing and the general size of it all can often prevent the more timid children from reaching their potential. So as a parent it is important not only to help your children but also to give them the confidence to do their best at school.
This sounds like a big task, and maybe it is, but helping your children to have confidence is actually fairly simple. Here are a few guidelines…
1 Look out for problem areas
Most times the subjects your children like will be the ones they are best at, the ones they ‘get’, and the subjects they struggle with will probably not be their favourites. This is natural, but it is helpful to be vigilant of any subjects that your children really don’t like or try to avoid.
Sometimes they simply don’t like that subject, but sometimes if they actively dislike a subject that can be a sign that they are intimidated by it or that are struggling with it. In worst cases this lack of confidence can spread to other subjects too, so now is the time to intervene and help.
2 Tell them how good they are
This sounds like an obvious one, but it’s not as simple as just praising them. Your children are probably used to you telling them how beautiful and clever they are (hopefully), but if you notice that your child has a talent for something in particular, let him/her know.
Often young children don’t realise where their strengths lie, so if you spot that your child has a knack for physics, or an artistic talent – let them know. Specific praise is often very effective and will give them a big confidence boost and the enthusiasm to not only be even better at that subject but also to make up ground in their weaker subjects too.
Knowing you are good at one thing makes it easier to accept if you are bad at another thing, and often children don’t yet know about the things they are best at.
3 Be specific and listen actively
When your child tells you about school or about something that has happened that day – even if it is fairly trivial to you – try to respond in a way that shows you are interested or concerned; responding with something like “That’s nice dear” will sound dismissive to him/her.
Instead, try to respond with a question or give some specific response that shows you were listening and interested and not just nodding along.
4 Parent’s evenings
This is just an example of a time that children often dread, but there are others too. Try not to come back from parent evenings with a list of criticisms. If you find out your child is doing great in some subjects focus on that and reinforce that positive result.
You should of course let him/her know that you are displeased by any bad behaviour that they have shown, but carefully try to judge whether that bad behaviour or poor performance is a result of naughtiness or of some other problem.
Often giving your child some extra tuition at home (either yourself or via a tutor) can catch them up with the class very quickly and if the one on one teaching helps them to understand topics that were previously frustrating them you will probably see an improvement in behaviour, enthusiasm and confidence.
5 Extra curricular activities
Doing things outside of school is a great idea for any child, firstly it gets them away from the TV and forces even the most introverted children out of their bubble and into the world. In clubs and groups your children will make friends away from the politics of school and often form stronger bonds, since clubs often involve activities that require more interaction.
Groups such as scouts are great confidence builders too, these groups are all about teaching children to be self-sufficient and to be good leaders – your children will learn skills that many of their peers do not have and they’ll have fun too.
6 Just be open and talkative
Finally, the best thing you can possibly do to help your child be more confident in every way is to be open and to talk to your child regularly. Never criticize too harshly, but offer guidance, advice and of course love.
Additional Resources This post was written by Ricky from UkTutors; please visit this site for more information about tutoring and helping your child with school and academic issues.