At this strange and worrying time, our kids’ wellbeing has never been more of a concern. Today, as we prepare to return to some semblance or normality, I’m sharing a wonderful kids book about confidence. Since my eldest daughter missed a large portion of reception class, right now I’m particularly preoccupied with her self-belief.
Both in terms of socialising and education, I want her to feel capable when she returns.
Some time ago, before the world shifted on its axis, we visited what used to be one of our favourite hangouts – the library. The book we took out turned out to be serendipitous; I don’t remember whose idea it was, but it was one we just happened to pick up. And if we had to bring any children’s tale home for more than six months, then I’m glad it was this one:
A Wonderful Kids Book About Confidence
Almost Anything by Sophy Henn is a story about a rabbit who believes himself incapable of all and any activities his friends invite him to try. The poignant context is that the rabbit’s character doesn’t manifest as morose – he simply states his inadequacy as fact, while remaining amiable with his friends.
This tone to the book makes it all the more powerful for me, because it wasn’t about a sulky five minutes; it was about a genuine lack of self-belief – one that is all too plausible in our little ones.
How to Build Confidence in Children
Remembering these tips can be beneficial for building confidence in children:
- Celebrate effort, regardless of result;
- Give them space to solve problems without your help;
- Model confidence and don’t get upset by mistakes;
- Applaud them when they experience and manage difficulties;
- Allow them to fail, and embrace the learning opportunity;
- Also set them up for success sometimes;
- Encourage practice to develop competence;
- Offer support – without too much assistance;
- Avoid criticism and sharing concerns about their limitations;
- Provide opportunities for new challenges and experiences;
- Praise their courage for trying new things;
- Demonstrate your love and belief in them;
- Make learning exciting!
While the above lay the foundations for cultivating confidence in kids, in the moment it’s not always so simple!
In situations such as the one described above, if your children are anything like my headstrong daughter then simply encouraging them to have a go is not going to cut it. A true lack of confidence is often demonstrated by an unwillingness to even try, apparently for fear of failing and the subsequent feelings of inadequacy/embarrassment which inevitably follow.
Of course there’s a learning opportunity here: nobody ever becomes proficient at anything without working for it, and we have to be willing to practice and make mistakes to improve. Unfortunately, a genuine lack of confidence in our kids can make these vital lessons extremely challenging to teach!
And that’s why I love books so much: they can very often take over where we reluctantly leave off.
In situations where our stubborn daughters refuse to accept my or their dad’s wisdom, they are prepared to listen to and absorb the concept of a good tale!
The Power of ‘Yet’
Almost Anything handles it beautifully, with the aid of a wise bear and a ‘magic’ hat.
It also presents the perfect circumstance to discuss the importance of ‘yet’.
Simply adding ‘yet’ to the end of ‘I can’t’ sentences is an empowering tool for our kids. It equips them with control over their perceived shortcoming and, in theory, therefore establishes confidence.
But it’s not only the story and its valuable moral that make me love the Almost Anything; it’s the vernacular used in the book.
The fantastic blend of words and expressions introduces new vocabulary, which is always welcome in our home. I can’t quite put my finger on it but to give some idea, descriptive words include ‘smashing’ and ‘dainty’; the choice of language and the rhythm are just gorgeous.
When parent and child both equally enjoy a book, you know it’s a winner. Lovely illustrations complete this paperback, and make it one of our all time favourites.