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Tips to Help Your Child Blossom as a Learner

We all know how important it is to nurture confidence in learning. It’s the fuel that pushes us to take on new challenges and try out new things,. It helps us believe that we can succeed at something unknown.  However, sometimes working on developing this lifelong attitude – learning confidence – in your child falls to the wayside as the urgency of this week’s homework or next week’s test take over.

Confidence is crucial in education and the ability to learn at any age. When we feel confident, we are more likely to try new things that will help us improve our abilities and build on what we already know. And confidence drives resiliency, the capacity to pick ourselves up when something’s gone wrong and try again.

But how can we cultivate confidence in our children?  And perhaps as important, how do we avoid eroding confidence?

A confident mindset starts with positive words

It’s vital we use encouragement instead of negativity when talking about our kids’ strengths or successes because this is how kids will grow up feeling most capable.  This is particularly helpful for struggling learners, where strengths can be used to pull up weaknesses.

Words are powerful, and how we speak to our kids is crucial for their learning. Acknowledge your child’s successes, be positive about their abilities and use encouraging words as often as you can so they learn that confidence means having faith in themselves like we have faith in them.

The opposite of  positive language of course is negative words.  We are not thinking insults or put downs here, but rather unintended negativity. Negative words do not nurture confidence in learning.  In fact, just the opposite. For instance, what’s taking you so long, are you still working on that.  The intention is good, to remind your child of deadlines, etc. BUt be careful of the risk of a different received message – “yes, I am a poor learner because I take too long to read a page, complete my homework, or get ready for  a test.”

Never compare your child with others

Never make them feel inferior because they are not as skilled at something as someone else. Instead, focus on what they are good at instead of what they aren’t.

Encourage your child to test their own abilities and strengths so they can build on what they do well. This way, you’ll nurture confidence in learning risk taking that helps them develop into capable adults who are not afraid of trying new things or taking on challenges.

Make positive statements about them rather than negative comments about how well someone else does at something. Avoid comparisons between siblings, friends, or neighbors- this type of pushing was often thought to fuel ambition, but in reality, it only makes kids feel insecure and inferior.

Don’t get upset about mistakes

No one is perfect, and that’s a good thing! Mistakes are the stepping stones to new learning. They’re an opportunity for your child to figure out why it didn’t work, fix things and try again until they get it right.

If you focus on pointing out errors or getting upset about them, you’ll make your child afraid of making mistakes instead of seeing new things as an opportunity to open a new door. So help them to focus on what they’re learning from this mistake and to move on.

Celebrate effort

We should teach our children to be proud of themselves. Not because of what they achieve, but simply because of the person they are and for having tried difficult things.

They need to know that they are important and loved by their family members and friends. This way, when they face a challenge in the future, they will feel confident and supported enough to try it out, instead of feeling pressured because they’ve been told that all that matters is winning.

Allow your child to fail

Parents should also encourage them during difficult times. This way, kids can learn to achieve goals without giving up too easily. Allow your child to make mistakes, get frustrated at times but learn something new from their failures instead of getting upset or angry with the situation.

Avoid using negative words like “can’t” or “bad at.” Instead, focus on how something is done right with phrases like ‘keep practicing’ or ‘try again.’

Setting low expectations to just give up at a minor sign of adversity will only limit a child’s potential in life. It sends the message that if they don’t succeed the first time around, there’s no point trying again.

Instead, teach them that mistakes pave the way to future success.

Encourage new things

Encourage them to try new things and to be open-minded about the unknown and uncertain. Learning is a process of trial and error, so being open to trying new things will help them gain confidence in their abilities and start deciding what they like or don’t like.

It’s important for kids to learn that they can achieve their goals by taking risks, doing unfamiliar things, and then making mistakes along the way- this will help them find success faster!

And the hallmare of a good learner is risk-taking. Without risk, progress is slower. This is particularly difficult for struggling learners, trying something new, but it so essential to learning progress.  The most powerful sign of you success in nurturing confidence in learning for your child is seeing a change in attitude to new things.  Once your child is a learning risk taker – relishing new challenges, shaking off failed first attempts or a lack of understanding starting out – you know you are on the right track.

Teach them to set small goals

Setting small goals will help your child not feel overwhelmed or intimidated when facing more significant challenges later in life. Every accomplishment should be celebrated along the way because each one brings us closer to our ultimate goal.

Create opportunities for growth

In addition to being positive, it’s also important for parents to provide kids with opportunities where they can build on past experiences or try something new without fear of failure- this will help them see what areas they excel at while achieving success quickly in new tasks, which will boost their confidence!

Role model confidence

Finally, role models play an essential part in nurturing confidence in learning for children. If your child sees you trying new things with courage and perseverance, they are more likely to do the same.  They will be more positive when facing challenges on their own path toward success in trying new things.  This is part of a guidance approach.

If they see you being overly critical of yourself or your own efforts or doubting what you can do, they will learn to replicate that behavior.
Make sure that they see and hear you being open-minded about trying new things and taking risks in the name of growth. There is a good chance that they will adopt these same attitudes.

There are many ways to help your child build the self-confidence to feel that they can go out there and learn something new. And the more new things they try today and the more they learn, the wiser, happier, and more self-confident they’ll be as adults.