Where to put this post in the series was a bit of a challenge for me. I think since building confidence is an on-going part in schooling. Can you do grade four… it’s so different than grade 3 and then making the jump to grade 7 and then high school. Different expectations at each grade level and the jumps in difficulty in certain years. Building confidence though, when you stop and think about it, is something that we as adults need to do throughout our working/parenting/volunteering years isn’t it? So it’s no small wonder it’s a continual work in progress for our children/students as well is it?
A lot of confidence-building depends on each individual person doesn’t it? Some children seem to be born confident, others need to work their way into it. You’ll find children that once they gain confidence in one thing quickly translate that into other areas of their life. Yet there are others who seem to need to learn it for everything along the way. We need to temper our expectations to the individual at hand.
I had to learn this. I have a lad who is fairly confident and translates his confidence in one field easily to another. But as a co-op teacher, I met children who were quite timid and encouraging them to step out in confidence was harder than I anticipated. A quiet uncertainty seemed to permeate their being. With such children, I found that moving slowly with my expectations generally helped them, yet one mom told me “be bold with that one, she’ll surprise you if you are!” (Moms often know best don’t they?)
Stages in building confidence
These are not necessarily in order, and can be applied at various stages. They will ebb and flow as life and circumstances change.
- Have expectations that can be met.
- Join in their play and let them be in charge.
- Remind them, when facing a challenge, they might not know how to do it YET, but give it time, they’ll get it figured.
- As they mature, let them take the lead. Let them learn how to handle disappointment, and how it feels to succeed.
- Accept your child for who they are. Encourage them along their path, push them to be better, but don’t try to make them someone they are not.
- Let them problem-solve on their own.
- Encourage them to be people of faith.
- Let them follow where their curiousity leads them.
- Let them own their own mistakes, then figure out how to “fix” it.
- Offer assistance when they need it, but often not until they ask for it.
Confidence will help your student gain needed independence in their learning. A confident individual has faith in their own abilities, which is what your independent learner needs. The confidence will teach them when to ask for help, when they can figure it out on their own, and when they just need to let a problem rest a spell.
How do you go about increasing the confidence in your children?