As parents we all want to do our best to provide a nurturing childhood for our little ones. One of the ways that we can steer them in the right direction is to help build our child’s confidence. Confidence is part of our kid’s emotional nutrition. It helps them handle themselves effectively when they are adults. Remember always to parent with love. First Five of California suggest that we take these steps to help develop your child emotionally.
1. Focus on them. It sounds obvious, but a lot of times we need to put down our BlackBerry, get off the laptop and give straight eye to eye contact to our children. No matter what age, if we slow down our conversations, cooing, smiling and looking at them directly, can make a huge difference and helps them thrive.
2. Connect with others. It is important for our children to be around parents and family, but is also important for children to be around peers. This can be achieved in play dates, sports teams, at the library, preschool and others. Being around kids their age helps them grow their emotional skills and children to learn how to interact, how to make friends and resolve conflicts.
3. Encourage them. During this time your child is learning the world and may not get everything right. It is important to encourage every effort. Give them the feeling that everything is going to be o.k. When they make their mistake, encourage them and let them try it again. Say things like, “I like it when you try that hard” or, “Look how great you are when you do this.”
4. Nurture independence. Sometimes we may feel the urge to do it all for our kids or may feel guilty if we can’t. But consider this, independence helps children in school and later in life. Teach your child to do things on their own. After you show them, let them try and if they make a mistake, show them again, and then let them try it all over again.
5. Model positive behavior. It may be easier said than done, but remember that they are going to mimic all that you do. When they see you in a good mood they will understand that positive behavior creates wonderful things in the world. If you are not in the best of moods, find a way to talk to someone or if you are angry, before you chastise, take a five minute break by walking around the block. It helps you “cool” off and helps you focus on them in a productive way.