By Barbara Daniels
Self-confidence is an elusive thing. One minute you have it, the next you don’t. So, when trying to help your kids get it, YOU have to have it, too! That’s why it’s so hard to teach self-confidence to someone else. Most of us as adults never quite “GOT IT” to begin with.
Kids’ minds are more open and less jaded than adults, though; so, that can sometimes make the task easier to accomplish. When we tell them they can do something, they usually believe us. Not like OUR minds that have built up a thousand different reasons why we CAN’T do something. The trick is for us to think like a child and start believing like they do. Then we can help them, and ourselves, to try new things and succeed at them.
It took me YEARS to decide to turn my little story into a published book, Timmy Teacup Transforms. I wasn’t sure it was good enough. And, there were already so many books out there for kids about loving themselves. But, I remembered a special art teacher I had in college who said, “Nothing is original! Everything you do will always have something that has been done before. So what! Do it anyway. Your way might just be different enough to reach someone in a new way.”
I’d like to share with you some self-confidence boosters that have helped me, my daughter, and my grandson along the way:
Self-confidence booster #1: Adopt a motto
Tell your child to say, “I CAN HANDLE THIS!” whenever they come up against something that seems overwhelming. That should be their MOTTO. Take a deep breath and repeat it over and over if necessary.
Self-confidence booster #2: List the pros
If your child says they feel “invisible” sometimes and that they don’t get picked to be on a team or whatever, remind them that not everyone is good at sports or whatever it is they haven’t been chosen for. They might be better at acting or cooking or computers, or something else. SIT DOWN AND WRITE A LIST of 5 things they are good at. Let them know the world would be a really boring place if everyone was exactly the same!
Self-confidence booster #3: Be uniquely you
Teach them to say to themselves, “I LOVE MYSELF JUST THE WAY I AM! I’m like a SNOWFLAKE. Each one is different and beautiful and special in its own way. There is nobody else just like me either, so that makes ME SPECIAL, too!”
Self-confidence booster #4: Just keep swimming
CHANGE THE OLD SAYING: “If you think you can, you can; and, if you think you can’t, you can’t” to: “IF YOU THINK YOU CAN, YOU CAN; AND, IF YOU THINK YOU CAN’T, YOU STILL CAN!” Let them know they can keep trying to do something if it means a lot to them. Teach them not to give up after a few tries, if it is something they really want to do. Read the definition of “persistence” in the dictionary. Teach the saying, “Practice makes perfect.”
Self-confidence booster #5: Recite a self-love poem
Have them MEMORIZE MY TIMMY TEACUP POEM, “Love Yourself,” from my website, www.timmyteacup.com. Bonus booster: Order and READ THE BOOK (it really helps kids feel better about themselves!)
Whether you’re thin or fat,
Purple or blue,
Just LOVE YOURSELF,
Because you’re YOU!
(Dear Parent: Please believe in YOURSELF, too! Good luck!)
Barbara Daniels lives in Chesterfield, Missouri, with her mother, daughter, and an energetic and imaginative grandson. Now retired, she holds a degree in psychology from Maryville University – St. Louis. Her days are filled with love and happiness in a home with fancy teacups on the piecrust table in the dining room.