Once your children reach school age, once you’ve got past those first day at school nerves and wiped away the tears at seeing your baby looking so grown up in their uniform, waving them off as they happily join their friends in class, another worry could well hit you.  They are “out there” now.  Away from you for many hours of the day.  You cannot so easily protect them in the way you once could.  They have to start to protect themselves a little more.  Have you done enough to ensure they can?  What if they should encounter bullying? You may worry along those lines and you won’t be the only one.

In all likelihood, many of the things you’ve done with your child during their time at home with you will have them well equipped for the wider world.  Activities, both fun and learning.  Experiences, places you’ve been to, people they have spent time with, affirmations you’ve given them.

Whilst schools are so much more switched on when it comes to bullying and its prevention in today’s world, it’s still something all parents worry about. Is there anything you can do to help your child deal with it?  Helping boost their confidence is certainly one way.  After all, a self confident child will find it much easier to brush off any jibes and help them feel strong enough to seek the help of an adult should they be concerned.

How can we boost confidence?  Here are a few tips and suggestions:

1) Give praise appropriately

Praise is good.  It’s nice to receive.  We all like it.  But it is better received if it is genuine and specific.  Children aren’t silly.  Constantly being told they are “good” or “clever” becomes meaningless.  When your child does something praiseworthy, do tell them, but tell them exactly what it was that was great.  When they come out of dance class, don’t tell them they were the best in class, tell them which move you think they nailed or that you were proud they paid attention so well.

2) Let them learn to do it themselves

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of doing everything for them, as parents.  You want to help your child, you want to make things easy for them and often, you want it done quickly!  But they need to believe in themselves and that means learning they can do it too.  A bit of try, try and try again! Let them dress themselves.  And when they don’t get it right, tell them that’s OK too! We all do.

3) Let’s get responsible!

Following on from the last tip, a bit of responsibility goes a long way! If you are responsible for something, it helps you feel in control.  And confident. You can do it and you did it YOURSELF! Assign your child a few simple household tasks like making their bed.  It’ll give them a buzz (and it helps you!).

4) If it’s not working, don’t push it

We all want to be rounded individuals, we all want our children to have the opportunity to try as much as possible and often we can fall into that trap of trying to live through them.  If you always wanted to play the piano and regretted not learning you might want to get lessons for your child.  But, if they happen to hate doing it, it’s not going to make them feel good.  Of course you don’t want to give up too early, but if they still hate it after a whole term, don’t keep pushing just because you regret what you didn’t do.  Find something they enjoy.  That’s what will make them feel good!

These are just a few tips.  Listen to your child.  Communication is key!