Our kids are constantly learning new skills.
Sometimes, our kids are daredevils who throw caution to the wind and will jump headfirst into any new opportunity. Then there are the more cautious kids. The ones who shyly watch from the sidelines as they anxiously debate whether or not they should even consider the thought of potentially trying the activity at hand. They fear failing. My kid falls somewhere in the middle - he won't be the first to try anything but he will as soon as he sees a friend he trusts do something!
While we can't alter the temperaments of our kids, we can certainly do some things to help nurture and encourage confidence and resilience.
We should be constantly modeling making mistakes, overcoming challenges, having different sets of skills and working hard to learn new things. Our kids need to see that even their parents, their ultimate heroes and role models, make mistakes and have challenges to overcome!
Force the word "yet" into your everyday language.
I can't do this yet.
I can't reach this yet.
I don't know how to ______ yet.
It changes the way kids see themselves and their abilities. They learn to move away from seeing limits as things they can't and won't ever be able to do, and start to see challenges as things to overcome with time and practice. They learn feel less stuck.
So much learning happens through books. Read, read, read! Then, talk about it. When a situation arises and your kid feels stuck, recall that moment in the book when the character also felt stuck. Connect the book to the real life experience. Some of these books are more active and include activities or action items for you and your littles.
I love a good affirmation. When you read this book with your kids, this teaches them the language they can use for positive self-talk in difficult situations. I also love the beautifully diverse drawings and wide representation in the book.
For kids who love to look up to athletes as role models, this book serves as a great lesson in perseverance. Using athletes, celebrities and other well-known role models helps kids understand that EVERYONE, even those considered to be the BEST in their craft, overcame struggles and challenges.
This activity book is a more interactive approach. It is for ages 6-9 and would be best done with the help of a parent, caregiver or older sibling. The activities help kids really think about themselves reflectively and analyze how, what and why they feel how they feel. It's super cute! It also takes the pressure off of parents to be the teachers and allows the book to bring the expert lens.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a LOVER of picture books. This one is beautifully crafted with an easy to understand message and is filled with an honest look at overcoming challenges and the power of the word YET. There's a big difference between "I can't do this!" and "I can't do this YET!". I always correct youngsters to use YET language.
When I was in the classroom, I used a tool called ClassDojo. It's a neat, engaging, positive reinforcement tool but also has the cutest little mascot friend named Mojo. He has a whole series on Growth Mindset.
It's adorable, relatable, short and fun. They also have other series on empathy, mindfulness, gratitude and perseverance!
Which one are you excited to try?