Today's post is provided by guest Blogger: Jarrett Arthur
Building a child’s confidence is one important way parents can work to keep their kids safe from violence, abuse and bullying. A confident child is a child that possesses self-advocacy skills, making him or her more likely to set effective boundaries, stick to those boundaries, and speak out if those boundaries are violated. Not only that, predators and bullies alike often seek “easy” targets: kids that come across as lacking confidence or those who appear timid. Additionally, the effects of helping to boost your child’s self-esteem will serve them well beyond their youth, as confidence is a life-skill proven to help young adults and adults succeed in many facets of their lives from academic, social, extracurricular, and other activities, to adult relationships and careers.
There are 5 easy ways to help boost a child's confidence and strengthen their image or “presence”, making them appear less timid or awkward:
1) Put technology away during times when you are walking in public from one location to another. All too often I see children with their heads down, absorbed in the app, game or video they have playing on whatever device might be in front of their face at the time. Looking down is a key characteristic of a person who lacks confidence. Children who excessively use handheld technology often practice timid body posture over and over again as they are absorbed in their virtual-world bubble. Taking away technology encourages children to look up and around them with a more confident posture and the added benefit of becoming more aware of their environment.
2) Compliment kids using character-specific adjectives. Get detailed when telling your children how wonderful they are. Generic compliments (e.g., sweet, great, awesome) aren’t as effective as specific compliments (e.g., intelligent, caring, generous, thoughtful, hardworking) when it comes to making children feel good about the people they are. Let them know exactly why they are special, not just that they are special.
3) Have children order for themselves at restaurants. Once children are old enough to verbally communicate their desired food and beverage choices, allow them to practice using their voice to make polite requests to adult strangers. This is a great way to encourage self-advocacy skills in your children, especially around adults with whom they aren't familiar.
4) Ask specific questions about their school day or extracurricular activity. Asking children to elaborate about their day: (a) shows them that you’re interested in what they have to say; (b) indicates that what they have to say is important; and (c) opens the line of communication between you and them. Some examples include:
- “Who did you eat lunch with today and where in the cafeteria did you sit?”
- “What was the coolest thing that you learned today?”
- “What kind of toys did you play with?”
5) Have your child practice a confident body posture and confident gestures. Asking your child to stand up straight as a side note doesn’t do much on the confidence building front. Devote specific time as a fun, theatrical activityto help your child build the posture of a confident person. Similar to practicing a sports-related move or even scales on a piano, the more a child practices confidence from a physical standpoint, the more ingrained those confident movements become. This quick video demonstrates a great way to practice confident body posture: The Gumby Game.
Incorporating these seemingly simple tips into your everyday activities will go a long way to building the confidence of your child.
Jarrett Arthur provides customized self-defense training and education to women, kids and parents. She created M.A.M.A. Self-Defense, a revolutionary system designed for moms that focuses on how moms can protect their children during violent encounters, as well as what and how to teach kids about personal safety. One of the highest ranking female black belts in Krav Maga in the U.S., Jarrett has been featured as a self-defense expert on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Access Hollywood, Good Day LA, The Kris Jenner Show, KTLA Fox News, in Fitness Magazine, The NY Times, and more. Learn more about Jarrett at JarrettArthur.com.
Working to improve the world one child at a time, Ginger has made it her life mission to raise awareness of the world-wide epidemic of child abuse. An impassioned child advocate, trainer, speaker and child forensic interviewer, Ginger can be contacted via her website “Ginger Kadlec: 4UrKids™” at gingerkadlec.com or find her on Facebook at facebook.com/gingergkadlec.