Wishing your kids could be more confident and self-sufficient in 2010? Confidence is something I hope I'm building into my kids everyday. Here are some things I know that work, along with some ways I know that my kids need to grow in this area in 2010.
Celebrate tiny accomplishments. Make it a point to notice when your kids are making an effort to tackle a new task like pouring a drink or (as in happening in the next room as I type!) learning how to use a can opener. These little risks add up to big confidence when your child can claim mastery. Madeleine is ready for some more grown-up tasks in the house and I know my acknowledgement of that will improve her sense of self.
Let your kids grow in their own time. Nothing hurts confidence more than being pushed to do something you aren't quite ready to tackle just yet. It's okay to follow your kid's cues when making decisions about what's next on the learning agenda--don't let anyone else's timetable sway you. I know for me, I tend to push my kids harder than they're capable of going. This year in some arenas, at least, I know I need to step back.
Trust your own intuition. If you're full of self-doubt, your kids will be too. Practice trusting your intuition and following it wisely. Your example can make a powerful difference--even if you can only trust yourself a little bit at a time. The point is to model for your kids that confidence in your own point of view. I worked on this hard in 2009 and I still have a long way to go.
Sample new foods. Fear is a major factor that keeps all of us back from new experiences. The restaurant table is a perfect place to learn the art of taking risks, trying new things and finding out it won't hurt you to find out what works for you and what doesn't. Carter needs the nudge of confidence in the food department and this year, he's going to get it!
Let your kids cook with you more. My kids are old enough now to make simple snacks, but I haven't been willing to teach them how to do it. I think by allowing them more space (and instruction) in the kitchen we'll build confidence in both directions--my ability to trust them and their ability to trust themselves. Which brings me to this next point.
Trust them. Nothing communicates confidence more than trust. I'll be looking for ways to demonstrate my trust--can you bring in the mail, please? I'm waiting for an important bill--and act on it. When we monitor our own fear and let our children be as capable as they really are, deep confidence will follow.
What one focus would you pick for your kids this year? Is confidence the thing or something else? Do you have tips on how to help confidence grow? I'd like to hear it all in the comments below.