By: Courtney Newman
We all have our reasons for choosing to homeschool. Similarly, the homeschool demographic encompasses all types of learners. Sometimes, resources may seem to apply to only the most common learning types or the “average” student. How, then, do we build confidence in all learners? If you have several children, you may realize there are multiple learning styles within your own family! You may not find your child often represented, which can make it difficult to find helpful resources or inspiration for confidence and self-esteem.
Our Top 5 Suggestions for Building Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Every parent wants their children to feel confident and capable. If you’ve noticed your child has low self-esteem or tends to be overly fearful, your heart likely breaks for them. Most of us have been there and felt that way at some point, and we can relate with our children. Thankfully, there are several ways you can help encourage your child to feel more confident and comfortable with their own abilities.
Above all, you want your child to move forward in this world knowing that while there will be challenges and setbacks, they can work through them and find success. It’s difficult when there’s a fearful nagging in the back of your mind that you aren’t good enough. Let’s turn those negatives upside down and find a way to help build your child’s self-esteem and growth mindset.
- Positive Reinforcement. Many of us have heard about the benefits of positive reinforcement rather than negative consequences and it may be a good consideration if your child is struggling with confidence. Praise their positive actions whenever possible to encourage their great choices.
- Offer Small Responsibilities. Sometimes, all it takes is a small responsibility to help a child feel more capable. Starting them with something small, such as feeding the cat, shows that you trust their abilities to follow through.
- Praise Effort. Even when the result isn’t what was anticipated, your child’s effort matters. It can be easy to feel like a failure when things don’t turn out like they should, especially if it’s something in which we invested sizeable effort. Show your children that, regardless of the turnout, you are still proud of their efforts!
- Spend One-on-One Time. One-on-one time can do so much for any child, and especially a struggling child. Sometimes, all they need is to be held or hugged for an uninterrupted moment. Other times, they just need some of your undivided attention to show them that they matter, their voice matters, and their thoughts matter.
- Avoid Harsh Criticism. Similarly to our positive reinforcement point, if your child is having a rough time with low confidence or self-esteem, try to avoid harsh criticism. There are other ways to approach issues, and harsh criticism can make them feel even worse about themselves.
5 Practical Activities to Encourage Confidence & Growth
As we work toward greater self-esteem in our children, there are a few activities we can do with them at home to help! The activities help apply the suggestions we discussed above in practical and relatable ways. Ideals are easy enough to offer, but bringing them home into our daily practice can be far more challenging. Here are five ways you can work with your child on their journey to gaining more confidence!
- Help your children list their wins in life. Encourage a gratitude journal. It’s amazing what can happen when we sit down and write down the positive things about our life! If it can help us, as adults, it can absolutely help children or teenagers as well.
- Practice positive affirmations. Help your children to begin telling themselves positive, self-motivating statements. Positive affirmations are not only meant to inspire, but also to question and ban negativity. Try going through a list of positive affirmations with your kids, but change it up every so often so it doesn’t become mere routine.
- Create a Wall of Achievement. I love the idea of dedicating a wall to our children’s achievements. Begin by taking photos of their proud moments, accomplishments, and successes to display on the wall. These achievements can be big or small, it doesn’t matter — what matters is that it was an achievement for your child. In fact, most often the small moments matter the most! Consider a photo collage to help it become prominent wall decor in your home.
- Acknowledge their fears. Write them down if that helps! One of the best ways to help move past fear is to undermine its power. Talking about those fears themselves, getting them out in the open and recognizing them, are a great first step.
- Try the “I am” challenge. Have your child write down honest descriptions about themselves, followed by listing only the positive things people have said about them. Next, print your child’s photo centered on a page, and have them fill in the positive words around their photo. Hang it in their bedroom or above their desk, wherever they are likely to see it the most for encouragement.
In the end, we want to help our children believe in themselves. We want them to feel competent, and as their parents, we see their immense potential. They can do amazing things, but uncertainty can be a big obstacle. Fear gets in the way of our goals for the best of us. With these tips and activities, we hope you can boost your child’s confidence and help them have greater self-esteem.