If I could put “confidence” on a spectrum, 10 would mean walking into a store and demanding a refund for a faulty product.
Fortunately for me—and sadly for that poor store manager—that end of the spectrum is where my husband stands.
As for me, I used to uncomfortably hang somewhere between a 3 and a 4 on the other end.
(It’s not something I’m proud of!)
But all that had to change when my preschooler came along.
Because, as it turns out, a child’s confidence is largely influenced by his parents. (Yep, both nature and nurture impact a child’s self-esteem.)
And as it happens, preschool is the first step into the real world.
So, how can you boost your child’s confidence or assist him in getting ready for school?
Here are five simple steps to boosting your child’s confidence and getting him ready for school:
What Are The Steps To Getting Ready For School?
Step 1: Monkey See Confidence, Monkey Be Confident
Take it from me: Monkey see, monkey do.
Kids are smart and take their cues from adults. If you avoid other parents or get nervous in new situations, chances are your child will do the same.
So, get ready to step out of your comfort zone and model confident behavior. It is time to get social and parks, playgrounds and play dates are a great place to start.
Initiate conversations and introduce yourself and your kid to other moms and their kids. This really helps your child in getting ready for the first day of school.
“Hi, my name is ___. What’s yours?”
It can be as simple as a hello or a wave.
Knowing what to do when you meet someone new can help your kid be more confident and at ease when meeting his classmates.
(By the way, this confident mama monkey now proudly swings from the 9th rung of the confidence spectrum. )
Step 2: Build Self-esteem
Your child’s confidence comes from within.
(Not to freak you out, but your voice is going to be your child’s inner voice. And that inner voice needs to be his personal cheerleader.)
So, say words of encouragement when your preschooler struggles with easy, age-appropriate tasks.
Don’t swoop in to rescue him when he’s trying to put the cap back on the toothpaste or accidentally topples his tower of Legos.
Instead, tell him he can do it and encourage him to try again.
Step 3: Ask For Help
When I was a kid, I wanted to “adult.”
Yes, I was naïve to think adulting was fun. Now I know better!
But that 6-year-old felt so proud of herself every time she completed what seemed like a monumental task even though it was just making my own breakfast or walking the dog.
That feeling of achievement gave me the confidence to believe in my abilities.
Give your naive offspring the same joy by asking them to help you with adult things. Ask them for help feeding a pet, buying a gift, or simply figuring out a problem.
“What should we get Nana for her birthday?”
“I need help pouring the dog food. Can you hold the bowl?”
Expect a mess, and avoid pointing out mistakes or imperfections. Listen to their opinion and ideas and you’ll be surprised to see how good they are.
Step 4: Let Them Choose
Our choices help us find ourselves.
By allowing your child to make his own choices, you let him trust himself and build his decision-making skills.
Offer two simple options and let the child decide. It can be as simple as choosing between two different pairs of socks or picking a bedtime story.
Step 5: Make mistakes, Accept them and Correct Them
Your kid doesn’t need a perfect parent. Instead, he needs a parent who slips on a banana peel, falls flat on his face, and then gets up.
Okay, maybe a little less comical. (The peel is a metaphor, so yes, aim for the trash can!)
But the point is you need to show your child how to fail, get up and try again because the fear of failure and mistakes stops us from taking risks or trying new things.
Accidentally knocked over a glass of milk or spilled some coffee?
Instead of smacking yourself, say, “Oh, no. Mommy accidentally spilled the milk. It’s okay. Mommy will wipe it clean with a cloth and pour herself another glass.”
Here’s the message he receives:
It’s okay to make mistakes. We can just start over again.
What Are The Things You Do Before Going To School?
Here are two things you should do before going to school:
Visit the School
First, you show your toddler around the school. Offer to pick up a friend’s or neighbor’s child from school and show your child the class he’ll be attending.
It is good to know the turf on which they’ll be fighting their battles.
On a serious note, this is a great way to get your child excited about the future. School pickups and drop-offs will show them that it’s a safe place where kids come to learn and play.
And whatever you do, don’t oversell the idea like you did with the broccoli. Kids can tell when you’re overacting.
Get Started On School Activities
If you feel your child may need an extra boost of confidence, here’s what you can do to help him get ready for school activities. Talk to other parents and teachers and introduce your child to the materials they’ll be using for that grade.
Listening to a familiar song will help them feel safer in a new environment, and being familiar with the material will give them the boost they need.
What should I teach my preschooler first?
The first and only thing you need to teach your child is unconditional love and self-worth. This sense of safety and security will lay the foundation for open communication, trust, and a healthy relationship.
Boosting your child’s confidence today isn’t just about surviving preschool without the waterworks.
It is standing up to a bully in middle school and expressing their emotions as tweens. Kids with high self-esteem are less likely to do drugs or take dangerous risks due to peer pressure.
Confidence isn’t just about standing in front of a class or making a speech, it’s about liking yourself and believing in your worth. So, see it as the first step in helping your child achieve their full potential.