Summertime is coming to an end, and with that comes all of the back to school anxiety and jitters that are common among kids and parents. Your kids may experience the common physical effects of anxiety associated with back to school time – ranging from stomach aches to sleeping problems. They may also experience emotional stress from the fear of making new friends, meeting new teachers, fear of being bullied, pressure of getting good grades, and worries of being unpopular. With that said, it’s important for us as parents to first remember that these physical and emotional feelings are very common, and even the most well adjusted kids are bound to feel some sort of pressure when they return back to school.
The question becomes: what can we do to help our kids cope with the physical and emotional stresses associated with the back to school season? Over the last few weeks, I’ve provided some tips that I’ve shared with parents over the years which have been most helpful. Here’s the last one to round out the series …
Tip #4: Continually seek out opportunities that increase your kids self-confidence
The very best thing you can equip your kids with is self-confidence. There is absolutely no substitute for self-confidence. Let me repeat that, because this line is very important: There is NO substitute for self-confidence! Confident kids face every day with a positive outlook and tend to have better grades, more friends, and less stress.
Here are some tips for increasing your kids self-confidence:
- Help them find their inner talents: Everyone has an inner passion or ability that they can sink their teeth into. This includes sports, music, reading, writing, arts, etc. Ask them what their favorite hobby or interest is, and then find a way to help them pursue their passion. Don’t ignore their requests to play the piano, or pick up a new sport. Just remember that if they do find a passion make sure you help them follow through. Some kids tend to get lazy simply because they lack motivation. It’s up to you to keep them motivated.
- Find positive role models: Coaches, tutors, and babysitters can have a positive influence on your child’s life. In fact, many kids will listen or open up to their role models more than they do to you because they feel a special bond between them. This is not a bad thing! Think about the special people that you confide in. I bet you have special people besides your parents that have helped shape your life. Don’t be afraid to cut the cord and let your kids seek inspiration from other people that you know are great role models for them.
- Remind them everyday of how special they are: Confidence begins at home. Praise their efforts and accomplishments whether they are big or small. You don’t have to go overboard but you don’t want to let the little opportunities that build your kids confidence slip by you.
Final thoughts …
Reflect back to when you were a kid and think of how you would have parented yourself. What would you do differently than your parents? What would you (or do you already) do the same? Life is a mystery and an adventure. Both good and bad experiences are part of life, and can help you understand your kids a little better. Keep this blog series in mind and refer to it when you feel like you need a little parenting boost. Hopefully one day you’ll share these tips with your kids as they enter adulthood and become parents themselves!
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