Raising Confident Kids
The new year is a time many set aside to reflect and make new goals for the upcoming year. Many of those goals focus on making life better for ourselves – like losing weight and eating better, but I would like to challenge you to take this time to create goals with and for your children.
As an early childhood educator my job is to ensure a child starts on the right step, not just when it comes to cognitive development but also for emotional, social and physical development as well. The same holds true for you as a parent, regardless of your children’s age.
I believe the ultimate goal of parenting is to raise responsible, self-sufficient adults who will live purpose-filled lives and become productive members of society and hopefully contribute to the world in a meaningful way. In order to accomplish this goal, we have to do as much as possible during these early years.
The book “What High Schools Don’t Tell You (And Other Parents Don’t Want You to Know): Create a Long-Term Plan for Your 7th to 10th Grader for Getting into the Top Colleges” written by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross revolutionized my thinking as a parent. Read it now and thank me later! You’ll learn how to cultivate your child’s interests and expose those who aren’t quite as motivated.
The biggest takeaway for elementary-aged kids is to have them take an arts, sport and academic program with the simple goal of exposure. You don’t know if you like or dislike something if you never try it.
There’s only one rule: they can’t quit in the middle of a season. If the child likes it, cool. If they don’t like it, that’s cool, too. Many times as parents, we get emotionally attached to a particular outcome and think, “I spent all that money on music lessons or soccer pads and my kid hated it, so I’m not investing in anything else!” That’s the wrong approach. Ultimately, your child will gravitate to what speaks to their heart, and the book lays out examples and resources to develop and nurture specific interests.
As your child develops, the challenges will change, and your thinking may evolve, but your approach should be consistent, firm, and loving. There’s not one right way to raise a confident, kind and successful kid, but I hope these tips and ideas give you new ways to pick and choose what kind of activities you do with and for your children.