When Barack Obama first ran for the presidency of the United States of America, his slogan was, “Yes, we can.”
This short and simple phrase packed a huge, impactful punch. It reinforced the idea that anyone who dreams and believes can achieve. It became the battle cry not only of a politician’s campaign but also of anyone who strives to succeed against all odds.
Saying that you believe you can do something is a crucial part of accomplishing any goal. Holding your body in a position that says you are ready to take on the world also influences your confidence that you have what it takes to achieve your dreams.
Thinking, feeling, acting and believing must all be put in play when you’re empowering yourself – or anyone else.
And empowerment isn’t just an adult’s journey. In fact, instilling in our children the belief that yes, they can is one of the best ways to encourage their growth and development. For a variety of reasons, including fear of the unknown, dependence on others (notably you) for assurance and by mimicking others who lack confidence (again, possibly you), children may also have low self-confidence.
The good news is yes, we can… promote self-efficacy in all children.
Here are 6 easy ways you can instill a self-confidence and awareness in your child on a daily basis:
Encourage Your child to express emotions
The perception and recognition of emotions are important for being able to analyze situations, identify struggles and deal with the setbacks. Support the development of your child’s emotional intelligence by talking about feelings and encouraging him or her to describe what those emotions feel like in her or his body. Make it fun for your child to physically let go of unpleasant, frustrating, and negative feelings, as those emotions can fuel the pessimism that counteracts self-efficacy.
Teach your child to embrace failure
Fear, failure, and imperfection are all normal in all of our day-to-day lives. That’s just the human experience. Let your child in on that ultimate truth, and be sure to provide love and support, not fear and punishment, when he or she is experiencing disappointment, sadness or frustration.
Keep the lines of Communication Open
Good communication and self-expression is critical for anyone to be self-reliant and strong. And the crux of solid communication is listening skills. Model this by paying attention to your child when he or she is speaking to you. Speak to him or her from a place of love, respect, trust, empathy, and gratitude. This allows your child to feel heard and important, and in turn will support his or her confidence. Ask direct, in-depth questions such as, “How did you feel at school today?” or “What was the thing you liked the most?” instead of an open-ended, “how was your day?”
Creativity allows children to think outside of the box, share bold ideas and create new solutions – all building blocks of self-reliance and autonomy. Don’t stay stuck inside, either – when your child spends time admiring all the colors and textures in nature, he or she very easily grasps that the world isn’t black or white. Let your child dive into a fun, creative project and get dirty. Grime washes off, but the joy of creating something new leaves an indelible mark that can help shape self-confidence.
Set Achievable Goals
Establish little goals each day with your child, as a stepping-stone for a larger goal. For example, if you were helping your child work on potty training, the first goal you might set would be to pick out “big kid” underwear. Next, challenge him or her to sit on the potty when reading a book. Then you might decide together that he or she won’t wear a pull-up all morning. And so on… the idea is to help your child learn to set small, attainable goals as he or she builds critical problem-solving skills.
Promote your child’s curiosity
There are a lot of ways in which you can promote your child’s curiosity. One of them is asking them questions and not providing the answers. Let your child search, read, think! This is crucial for development. Sometimes we tend to do a lot of things for our kids, mostly because it takes too long and we live in a fast-paced world. But guess what? The more children try to do something, the better they will become at it, and the sooner they’re able to accomplish things for themselves – quickly and efficiently. Which once again builds self-confidence.
The empowered children of today are the powerful adults tomorrow. All it takes to get them there is a belief that yes, you can.