Whether your child is starting a new school or leaving a favourite teacher behind the changes ahead can create anxiety for some children. Now is a good time to focus on some subtle confidence boosting to make that new start something to look forward to.
Confidence is the key to managing change. Children who are confident are happy on the inside whatever is going on around them. They have developed a strong self-belief that says, “I am going to be OK”. This self-belief comes from knowing that whatever lies ahead they can do their best and that will be OK. Building your child’s confidence is about creating optimism to help them tackle new challenges. Confidence is not something you are born with, it comes from having family and friends to support you and to show you how to be the best you can be.
Whether your child will be starting nursery for the first time in September, moving up to “big school” or changing classes you want them to look forward to it. Confident children take things in their stride and are resilient. Building confidence is a great way to give your child inner strength so you know they are OK when you are not there with them.
The second half of the summer holidays is a great time to start a quiet countdown to ensure that when September comes they will be ready to start the term with enthusiasm and anticipation.
• A child who is happy to try new experiences.
• Who knows what they are good at and uses those strengths.
• Someone who is able to find ways of doing more of what they enjoy.
•Who easily finds things to do and gets fully absorbed in what they have chosen.
•Is self-reliant and has limited need of constant support and approval.
•Help your child to discover things they enjoy. Be detectives together to discover what they find exciting and interesting.
•Create time every day for creative play which is entirely under your child’s control. Children who regularly plan and organise their play are more confident than children who depend on organised play with adults or electronic games. Younger or less confident children may need to start small with 5 or 10 minutes and build the time up slowly from there.
•Praise your child frequently for their effort and ingenuity rather than for results. Those who try succeed.
•Remind your child regularly of everything that is great about them. Positive feelings boost confidence so make the good things last. Capture happy holiday memories:
•Use WWW- what went well– to discuss the highlights of the day
•Or have each person share the 3 best things that happened today
•Develop a holiday playlist of things to do. Include quick and easy as well as big events to provide a menu for home half hours, sunny days out and rainy days at home.
•Capture the happy times to be revisited and enjoyed all over again. Make a scrapbook of pictures and drawings if you like to handle things or use photos on your computer.
•Make a treasure box with tickets, found objects and souvenirs to remind you of days out.
Now if I may be so bold some advice for you too:
- be positive on the outside whatever you are feeling inside. Act as if it will all be OK and that is the message your child will get from you.
- take your lead from your child and answer any questions but don’t over focus on the topic of school
- enjoy the holidays and relish the chances this gives for your child to shine and build happy memories.