It’s really hard to believe that the school year is already here! As summer melts into fall, students will dive into a variety of academic and extra curricular activities. However, undoubtedly, with these exciting changes will also come some anxiety. As the new school year presents uncertainties, how can you keep your student’s confidence bolstered and secure? These five easy ideas will help you support your student in putting his or her best foot forward.
Model Positive Self-Talk
For as many times as you may think your child is ignoring you, especially when you ask them to take out the trash, they absorb and internalize a lot of what you do and say. This includes how you speak about yourself and your abilities. If a student witnesses a parent handling situations with positivity and confidence, he or she will be more likely to do the same when facing challenges.
Use a Growth Mindset When Speaking About Successes and Struggles
Carol Dweck, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Stanford University, developed the idea of Mindset as a way to help people understand how they acquire their abilities. A person who thinks with a Fixed Mindset believes that he or she was born with certain abilities and is stuck with that level of ability for life. For example, one is either smart or not smart, athletic or not athletic. On the other hand, those with a Growth Mindset see their abilities as something that can be further developed with time, effort, and practice.
In speaking to your child about his or her struggles in school, keep in mind that education is a journey. Where your student is now is not the final destination. Put that Growth Mindset to use and remind them of this by saying things like, “You can always improve if you keep working at it!” “Your hard work will help you to go even farther!” “Even our mistakes can teach us things!”
Explain What You Appreciate About Them and Their Work
When giving your child compliments, go the extra mile and explain why you feel the way you do. For example, instead of saying, “I’m proud of you,” try saying, “I’m proud of you because you kept trying and didn’t give up. That takes a lot of courage!” It’s important for students to understand why they are succeeding. Offering phrases such as “Good Job!” or “Way to go!” show appreciation for his or her efforts, but do not highlight why a child is experiencing success. Instead, try expanding upon the statement by saying, “I like the way that you took your time in answering these questions. I could tell you were really thinking about them and looked up information to support your answers.”
Turn On Those Listening Ears
No matter where a student is at in his or her educational journey, having a few minutes each day to tell you about successes, struggles, worries, and wishes is always important in boosting confidence. Getting a bit of your undivided attention can help him or her to feel important, validated and understood.
One way to maintain confidence, at any level, is to show gratitude for one’s abilities, successes, and even failures! Recognizing that every moment is a gift and an opportunity for learning is an excellent way for students to remain confident and hopeful. When students see their parents exhibiting this sense of positivity, they will take on a more grateful perspective, as well. For example, a grateful learner may say, “That science project didn’t turn out the way I expected, but that’s ok. I’m actually really glad I was able to see what didn’t work so that I know how to do it even better next time!”
Elizabeth Drewelow is a Learning Specialist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offer a unique group, the Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP). At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
1210 Jordan Street, Suite 2A
North Liberty, IA 52317
2570 106th Street, Suite E
Urbandale, IA 50322