My post-pandemic back-to-school guide: Building your child’s confidence

I UNDERSTOOD that our family has discovered many challenges during the pandemic, such as prolonged remote learning and lack of social support. But we also discovered a lot of good things. Last week, I shared what I learned about the importance and effective methods of family communication. We have tried many during the pandemic.

This week, I want to share my learnings about the importance of a strong self-image for kids today. I think it’s the most volatile, but the most important. Parents have often asked me how they can protect their children from bullying. I would share the story of building the 21st century trust skill from the very beginning. I like to engage my children in “self-help” activities, which include learning “content” or subjects like math, enrichment activities, like sports and play. never wanted my children to be top of their class. I see the importance of academics as a way for our children to discover the results of their efforts.

So my goal is more to make learning, not studying, fun and meaningful for them. Sport is also an excellent self-image booster.

Meagan started out with basketball as her sport of choice. She gained great confidence by working in addition to university training with coach Paolo Rivero. Her coach posted on Instagram that “…she is one of the hardest working athletes I have ever coached” when Meagan was 11.

“Play” plays an important role in how I help my children gain self-confidence. Marcus made a lot of Lego sets when he was nine years old. During the pandemic, our family did a lot of puzzles together. As children see their own abilities grow through these activities, I believe they can literally and figuratively enter school with a stronger sense of self. They can also see past the pressures of body image, knowing they have things that mean more to them.

As children are set to return to in-person or blended learning, I believe we need to prepare them for the post-pandemic school environment, especially when it comes to their peers. Here are three big learnings and tips I learned from the book A Mind of Their Own: Building Your Child’s Emotional Well-Being in a Post-Pandemic World from Katherine Hill:

1. “It’s okay to be ordinary.” According to the book, some of the pressures on young people to be extraordinary come from the fact that culture has defined ordinary life as boring and unfulfilling. It challenges us that as parents we have the opportunity to step in and change that narrative. He advises that we can help our children recognize that ordinary life is not about settling for a boring second best; it’s about embracing reality and making the most of every opportunity and becoming the best you can be. It provides tips like giving specific praise to specific actions instead of giving general commentary; or using birthdays to celebrate “them” and not what they did or give them something to do. I love how the book encourages praising not only success or achievement, but also good qualities like kindness.

2. “You can’t do it yet.” I like the reference to research by psychologist Carol Dweck which has shown that “how our children approach learning has a direct impact on what they are able to achieve and can therefore affect their confidence and well-being. to be mental”. I have been reaffirmed that adopting his “growth mindset” approach all these years has allowed my children to “propel them into learning and growth”. This mindset allows children to see that success is the result of their effort and perseverance, and that the talents entrusted to them are only a “stepping stone to endless possibilities for growth”.

According to Dweck, children with a fixed mindset believe that our ability is predetermined, that everyone is born with a fixed amount of talent that cannot be changed. She explains that this can give way to the mindset that if you suck at something, nothing you do can change it, or that if you’re good at something, success is guaranteed. So those with a fixed mindset see every challenge as an opportunity to show off their strengths.

3. “It’s good to feel.” I love this part because it guides me on how to help my child deal with failure. It’s not easy because our natural parental instinct is to protect our children. I have learned over the years with my 16 and 12 year olds that the first step towards this is for parents to dissociate themselves from the success or failure of their child. My children never started out as honor students. When they started in high school, I worked with them on their learning process. When they received their notes, I asked them what they thought. I would schedule goal setting sessions before the start of the school year and ask them what they wanted to aim for in the upcoming school year. It can be as simple as better handwriting or as ambitious as earning multiple awards.

Next week, I’ll share how I’m augmenting schoolwork with play and how it’s built my kids’ confidence.

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