“It is relative position not absolute position that fosters success or hinders it.” (Gladwell, 2008)
It is where you stand in relation to your peers that create an environment for confidence for most people and that includes children. How competent you are in comparison to others.
And this is why I propose confidence as a tool on this backpack tour. In this post, at this stop, I will discuss 6 tips for nurturing confidence.
At the PreK level, your child is ready for school with respect to confidence if he/she can separate from you for a few hours without causing fear or anxiety.
To further help build confidence: Teach your child numbers up to 10 and read to them regularly. Reading teaches concepts of print – how books work (a front cover, back cover, an author, reading from left to right, from top to bottom). Competence equals confidence!
At the lower elementary level (K-2), volunteering in class requires risk taking since your child doesn’t know if he/she will have the right answer or be able to complete the task. Encourage risk taking through volunteering – a key skill for both success in school, life and careers.
To further help build confidence: Teach your child a skill in the next unit or grade level (if ready) in either Reading or Math. Competence equals confidence!
At the upper elementary level (3-5), learning to speak up (advocate) for oneself builds confidence. Providing an opinion or speaking up for justice for those who can’t or won’t is a very powerful skill to have at this age.
To further help build confidence: Practice scenarios at home to help with getting the marbles out of their mouth. Practice makes Permanence!
At the middle school level, recognizing and acknowledging abilities in others is a true sign of confidence. So encourage this type of cheerleading. It not only demonstrates confidence, but also maturity. Understanding that there is room for more than one at the top is especially important during the middle school years when fears and anxieties are high. And confidences can be low.
To further help build confidence: Look for relationships between people, but begin to explore relationships between ideas.
At the high school level, teenagers who lead groups, clubs, teams etc. learn to manage behavior and projects while developing and demonstrating confidence.
To further build confidence: Encourage them to find a place where they fit in or belong (a club, a team, a class, a hobby, an activity).
At the College level, frequently at this and lower levels we have a tendency to think that the confident person is the one who’s speaking up or loud. But that is not always true. Those who are quiet just may be as confident, but humble about their knowledge, skillset, experiences and wisdom.
Humility at this level, in my opinion, is the ultimate sign of both confidence and maturity.
To help further build confidence at this level: Get your young adult outside of his/her comfort zone by encouraging studying/traveling abroad, learning about different cultures and learning new languages. Intercultural awareness is a 21st century skill that allows your child to compete confidently for careers.
Ultimately, knowing your child’s confidence level is just as important as knowing his/her academic ability and capability. Confidence is an attitude that can be nurtured and developed. And competence (knowing how to do something) and feeling a sense of belonging can be the difference between the potential for promise or the potential for peril.
And this is why I include nurturing confidence as a necessary stop on this backpack tour.