How to Build Self-Confidence In Kids, Summer Edition
As July approaches, our minds begin to wander a bit. Summer starts to reach its peak and we all begin to set our thoughts on relaxing by the pool or lake. For parents, however, we realize that a new school year is never far behind. It can be especially hard to think about the next grade if your child struggled at all in their last school year.
Summer is a great time to “work” with your child to help them build self-confidence and make the start of a new school year a great one instead of a stressful time. We’ve worked with kids of all ages for decades and have seen some techniques that we know have helped prepare kids to take on a new year with gusto.
Set Rules (and an agenda)
When school is out, so is the structure. The old routine of: breakfast, bus, a day organized by school bells, and then back home again for dinner and studies is out. Now maybe it’s camp or a sitter and a routine that is more relaxed. While it’s great to break up the monotony, many children can struggle when they don’t know what to expect and in what order. When you set clear rules, children will better know what to expect and what they should and shouldn’t do. This helps breed confidence and a sense of relief, even if your children’s behavior might not immediately reflect that.
Working for the Weekend
A job is a great way to spend the summer. Other than teaching the value of a dollar, the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with saving for and buying something they care about is golden for kids. If your child is too young for a job, some chores and responsibilities around the house go a long way.
Talk About Feelings
This might not come naturally to some parents but it is critically important, especially with boys. Our culture can sometimes dictate what children should/shouldn’t share. Maybe you or your spouse feel that boys should “suck it up” more than girls or that girls don’t need to be encouraged to talk about their feelings because they’ve always mentioned in the past when something is bothering them. The reality is, it’s hard to know anything for sure without a conversation. Be open about feelings, and always validate how a child might be feeling by encouraging them to talk about their emotions. A campfire or paddle in a canoe is a great setting for a heart-to-heart.
Teasing or Bullying
Unfortunately, it happens. As a society, we’re faster to recognize and intervene when we hear about bullying but it is out there and it can be exacerbated by social media and other online channels. Of course certain situations require escalation at school, or beyond. But a healthy groundwork means teaching children at least some level of preparation for them to try to handle things for themselves. Reassure your child that you’re there for them, no matter what. Getting them to be open about what they’re experiencing is the first step in understanding if this is something you need to talk to school officials about or there are other things you child might be able to do to extract themselves from the situation.
Getting kids in shape isn’t just a health concern, though it certainly is that as well. A strong child is a confident one. Sports camps, and other structured programs that get kids moving are a great way for kids to have fun and start to build strength. And it will certainly help them tremendously in their later years.
Preparing for 2018-2019 School Year
Your child (and you, of course) have been working hard all year. You both deserve some R&R. But the summer is a prime time to teach lessons that will carry into the next school year and beyond. Fight the urge to loosen all the rules and adopt a completely spontaneous approach to summer living. Spending time with your kids to understand and connect with them about what they’re feeling will help prepare everyone for a great new year.
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