This is an advertorial blog from Simon Benn – The Children’s Happiness Coach
51% of parents say they worry about their child’s confidence either all the time or often. Perhaps that’s their child’s confidence around new people or doing new things, like going to party where there’s going to be lots of grown ups (because they’ve only been to children’s parties) or being a bridesmaid at their cousin’s wedding.
So how do we boost their confidence in a way that’s more effective than just saying “Go on, you can do it!”? One of our biggest fears – for both parents and children – is that we’re not good enough. We worry about looking silly if we fail. We think everybody else was an overnight success because we don’t see their failures. Or endless practice.
Getting kids to realise it’s ok to fail at things is essential. There’s a great way of spelling out F.A.I.L. – First Attempt In Learning. This fits with what your child might be learning at school too, about the Growth Mindset. The quickest way to sum up this very long subject in one word is YET. When your child says they can’t do something, you respond by saying “YET” and go on to explain how we’re not born great at anything – yes we may have a natural talent but that’s honed over years to become Messi or just about any other sports person you can name.
You can reinforce this learning by getting your child to do some research into the story behind your child’s favourite superstar or hero – JK Rowlings’ manuscript for the first Harry Potter book was rejected by 12 publishers. Jay-Z – Mr Beyonce – sold his CDs out of his car because he couldn’t get a record contract. Those interested in science and invention may be surprised to hear that James Dyson’s overdraft got to £1.2 million before he finally decided he had to make his own vacuum cleaners rather selling his technology to other manufacturers. It had already taken him 5 years to perfect the cleaner, 5 years!
Once they’ve realised it takes time to become good at a new skill, getting them to try LOTS of new things is great. Why is that? Because they realise the barrier they’d made up in their minds isn’t actually there. Once they see it’s not there they don’t worry about it. There’s no barrier to jump over or go round. That realisation comes through experience – then the child sees they can do it. A barrier in the road is a real thing, a barrier in the mind seems real until the child realises it isn’t.
Worry isn’t a thing. Confidence isn’t a thing either, so it can’t be lost like your car keys. Feelings come and go. But where do they come from? Well contrary to most opinions they DON’T come from what’s going on around us. I didn’t see that until someone asked me how “Worrying is a problem when you’re not thinking about it?”
Feelings come from thoughts. That’s it. Learning that empowers children to manage their feelings. Not getting it intellectually in the head but getting it deep in their bones. And I help them do that through play because children learn more when they’re having fun. They learn that feelings come from thoughts like juice comes from fruit. In no time at all, they’re creating confident coconuts to make them feel confident. And they’re getting rid of worried watermelons. 95% of children say they can change their feelings more easily after an hour’s session.
To see more about what Simon offers, visit the Children’s Happiness Coach website here