The famous inventor Thomas Alva Edison was labelled ‘addled’ by his school teacher and was expelled from school.
Helen Keller, the famous author, lecturer and political activist, was visually challenged and hearing impaired.
The renowned physicist Albert Einstein was said to be dyslexic.
Abraham Lincoln, the famed American President, was born in a one-room log cabin to impoverished parents.
How do you think all these celebrated personalities attained fame and success, despite the challenges they faced? The answer is ‘self-confidence’. It is this quality that sets apart successful individuals from the others.
As parents, it is our duty to ensure our children grow up with self-confidence and high self-esteem.
Here are some interesting activities that will boost your child’s confidence.
1. The 'goodness' slip: This can be a good family bonding game. Sit around in a circle after dinner. Pass around slips of paper and a pen to each family member. Each person should write down one good quality about each of the other members. Play some music and when the music stops, each person should read out the quality. The others should guess the person who possesses that quality. You’ll be surprised to see even your diffident child smiling when something good is read about her. The game can continue with more music, more writing down and more reading out.
2. Take a peep inside: Set aside some quiet time towards the end of the day. Get your children to spend some time reflecting on their own strengths and positive aspects of their personality and jotting them down in a diary. After the quiet time, ask them to read aloud what they had noted down. Even a child who has low self-esteem will sit up when he realises what a long list of strengths he possesses.
3. Present a bio: This can be a fun party game for children. During weekends, let your child and his cousins or friends engage in this interesting activity. Let each person make a presentation on the theme – ‘My bio’. Ask them to prepare a mini-narrative about themselves – their interests, hobbies, achievements, and so on. The presentation can be in the form of a speech, poster, Ppt, album, etc. They can begin their sentences with phrases such as, ‘I am good at…’, ‘I am proud of myself because…’, or ‘I am happy that I can…’. Such presentations will be a self-revelation for children about their true potential. The children can bring in a self-advertisement/commercial angle to the presentations.
4. Make a daily log: Get the children to write at least one accomplishment or one good deed of theirs every day on a poster on their room’s wall. If any child struggles to come up with something, talk to the child to find out about the day’s happenings and help him narrow down on that one aspect and jot it down. Sometimes, a simple deed of letting someone in a hurry pass by him on a crowded staircase may be forgotten by your child. Or, even answering a tough question in the class. But, when you underline it during your discussion, your child will become aware of what he has done and it will boost his confidence.
5. Portrait trees: Set up a flannel-board on one corner of the wall in your living room. Stick photographs of your children on the board. Write down the good qualities, strengths and special talents of each child on slips of paper and stick them above the photograph. Get the extended members of your family and friends also to do the same whenever they visit you. These portrait trees with the compliments will serve as a feel-good factor to your child and up his confidence level.
6. Throw darts: Fix a dart-board on a wall in your child’s room. Ask her to write down her fears and what she considers to be her weaknesses on pieces of paper and fix them to the dartboard using magnets. Then, have pep talks with her on how to overcome those fears and convert the weaknesses to strengths. Together, chart out a plan to address the issues. As you talk about each issue, ask her to aim her dart on the piece of paper which has the issue written on it and throw the dart saying, ‘I can do it!’. Make this a daily exercise, until your child has overcome the fears and weaknesses.
7. Pretend play: Encourage your child to engage in pretend play and role-play activities with his cousins and friends during weekends and holidays. Ask him to choose the role of characters whom he thinks would be a challenge to emulate. For example, if he is diffident about participating in sports, ask him to imagine being a famous sportsperson and address a press conference following a victory. Such activities will help your child overcome his diffidence and boost his self-esteem.
8. Follow the leader: When you have family outings and parties, make your child responsible for planning and organising the events. Assign her the role of leader and ensure that everyone takes instructions from her. This will be a big boost to her morale. Of course, you will need to guide her constantly during the initial phase until she is able to manage on her own.
9. Mirror talk: Another good activity can be encouraging your child to talk aloud facing the mirror about his fears, aspirations, etc. This can prove to be a therapeutic exercise. This activity will also provide the scope for positive self-talk. Your child can give himself pep talks focussing on the ‘can do’ attitude. Another interesting off-shoot of this activity can be posing questions such as, ‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Tell me who’s the smartest of all?’ Your child can mimic the mirror with the reply, ‘You, of course.’ The questions can vary with the ‘smartest’ being replaced with other qualities and traits.
10. Climb the ladder: Set up a mini ladder or paste the picture of a ladder on chart paper and hang it on the wall. Place your child’s photograph on the bottom-most rung of the ladder. Have pep talks with your child on how to overcome her weaknesses. Together, chart out steps to surmount the challenges she faces. Monitor your child’s progress on a daily basis and as she succeeds in each step, place her photograph on the next rung of the ladder. Continue this until you reach the top. Once done, take up the next challenge or issue and repeat the exercise. Visualising her progress and climb will surely do a world of good to your child’s self-confidence.
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