Newsletter Jan 2018

Confident people make eye contact when they speak and walk with their head up. Their body language looks strong and projects a positive image. Of course, no one feels completely confident 100% of the time. Confident people put their best foot forward and bravely work through situations. Help kids see that everyone makes mistakes and the important thing is to learn from them, not dwell on them. Confident people don’t let the fear of failure get in their way—not because they’re sure they won’t ever fail, but because they know how to take setbacks in stride. Let your kids see you working hard and putting forth effort. When something doesn’t go well, let them see you work through it.  Instead of focusing all their energy on what they already know how to do, let them try out a new sport, musical instrument, or hobby. Trying new things can be fun and allows different parts of the brain to become active. Attaining new skills makes kids feel capable and confident.  It’s natural to want to protect your child from failure, but trial and error is how we learn, and falling short on a goal helps kids find out that it’s not fatal. The first time they tried to walk they probably lost their balance and fell, but they got back up.  Learning not to give up at the first frustration or bail after one setback is an important life skill. Confi- dence and self-esteem are not about succeeding at everything all the time, they’re about being resilient enough to keep trying, and not being distressed if you’re not the best.  Exploring their own interests can help kids develop a sense of identity, which is essential to building confidence. Of course, seeing their talents grow will also give a huge boost to their self-esteem.  Divide and conquer a little at a time. This will show your child how doing a small amount at a time can lead to big accomplishments. Don’t expect them to learn all their math facts in one night. Help them break it up in parts and make a plan with a timeline. Do a small amount each night and eventually the goal will be met.  Praising kids for their accomplishments is great, but it’s also important to let them know you’re proud of their efforts regardless of the outcome. It takes hard work to develop new skills, and results aren’t always immediate. Let kids know you value the work they’re doing, whether they are learning their letters, math facts or trying out a new instrument.  Don’t do everything for them. They might complain when you give them chores, but kids feel more connected and valued when they’re counted on to do age-appropriate jobs. Giving them jobs and responsibilities at home also tells them you believe in them. Don’t overload them but do include them. Kids who aren’t given responsibilities when they are young, may not develop the skills necessary to prepare them for the next stage in life.  As grown-ups, we know perfection is unrealistic and it’s important for kids to get that message as ear- ly as possible. What they see on TV or in a magazine is not real. How people represent themselves on social media is often times not real either. Don’t focus on how things always look, that is only superficial. Talk about reality and keep it real.  Challenges are good for kids, but they should also have opportunities where they can be sure to find success. Help your child get involved with activities that make him feel comfortable and confident enough to tackle a bigger challenge. Helping them learn their spelling words or flash cards sets them up for success and shows them you are there for them. If you ignore their needs, they may feel unworthy and less confident than peers who have parental support.  Let your child know you love him/her. No matter what- win or lose the big game, good grades or bad. Even when you’re mad at him/her. Make sure your child knows that he/she is loved. This will bolster his self-worth, even when he/she is not feeling good about himself/herself. Elementary Counselors- Kari Kopperud and Wendy Weaver