Starting school can be stressful for young children. It can be a time of great excitement and anticipation, but it can also be a time of change and uncertainty. The stronger the child’s sense of self, the more likely they are to make a successful transition to this next stage.
It’s natural for a parent to want their child to be confident and have a healthy self-esteem before setting off for kindergarten or early school. After all, when children believe in themselves and feel worthwhile, they’re more likely to face the unknown, try new things, be happy and succeed.
A child’s cognitive, emotional and social development can also be linked to their sense of self. The more they trust in their own capabilities, the greater their ability to tackle new challenges. They’re also more likely to do things they may not necessarily be good at because they can face challenges without fear.
And when things don’t turn out as planned, a child with a healthy self-confidence is more likely to bounce back, try again, learn new skills and grow through the process.
- Self-confidence = feeling valued, loved and worthwhile
- Self-confidence = liking yourself and believing in your abilities
A healthy self-esteem can be a key determinant of educational success, but it’s not an inborn trait and nor does it happen by chance. The good news is that there are lots of things that parents can do to help their child strengthen their self-belief and their self-worth ahead of starting early school.
How parents can help build a child’s confidence, character and fortitude
Children are like sponges, constantly absorbing information and learning by their experiences. They learn from the way people respond to them and to one another, and all these interactions shape their sense of self.
Parents are a child’s first teacher and they can have a profound influence on building a child’s self-confidence.
Things parents can do to set their child on the path to success before starting early school
Praise is different from encouragement. Repetitive praise won’t miraculously turn a shy or insecure child into a confident self-believer and in fact, too much praise can actually put undue pressure on a child. Yes, positive reinforcement is vital, but a child will become more self-assured when they accomplish things on their own.
Set a good example
A child will mirror adult behaviour, so parents need to be strong and positive role models. They’ll take their cues from how you interact with others, how you respond to situations, how you communicate and the body language you display.
Make time for play and give them your full attention
One-on-one time is an excellent opportunity to make your child feel secure and to build their self-esteem. Positive relationships will help a child feel safe, supported and encouraged and through play, they’ll be more likely to develop constructive feelings about themselves, their abilities and their place in the world.
Let the child direct the activity while you play a supporting role, encouraging and acknowledging their effort and affirming positive behaviour. This can help them in social settings in early school with concepts like sharing, taking turns, listening and patience.
Establish daily routines with your toddler
Children thrive on predictability and boundaries and having daily routines at home will help your child adjust to the structures of early school. You can establish routines such as a bedtime process involving putting away toys, having bath, putting on pyjamas, brushing teeth and reading a book.
Help them learn by doing
A child who feels their contribution is valued will grow in confidence. You can help them feel useful by giving them small tasks (setting the table, feeding the dog etc). They’ll feel proud and successful when they accomplish something on their own. Giving them responsibilities is also really important in helping to develop skills such as problem-solving, which will ease their transition to early school and set them up for success.
By encouraging independence, you can help your child become a self-achiever.
A final word on building a child’s self-confidence
We want the best for our children and we have a responsibility to help them succeed.
Luckily, there are plenty of things parents can do to help a child feel good about themselves before they start their big adventure of early school. Teaching them to love and believe in themselves will provide a strong foundation for success, but it doesn’t have to stop once your little one walks through the school doors. Choosing an early school which places high value on building confident children can have lifelong benefits. If you’re looking for child care in Clayton or Albert Park, we would love to show you around one of our Evoke Early Learning centres. Why not book a tour of one of our Evoke Early Learning childcare centres in Clayton or Albert Park? You can come and see how our nurturing approach promotes knowledge and inspires a lifelong love of learning and where developing our children’s self-confidence, resilience, responsibility, teamwork and problem-solving skills is a daily priority. We look forward to meeting you and your little one!