It was time for those awful standardized tests. You remember the ones. The #2 pencils, the timer, the endless questions, the pressure, the teacher saying, “Time’s up. Pencils down. Tests closed.” The thought of it makes my palms sweat and stomach twist into a knot.
Well, for homeschooled kids the test is taken on the computer in the comfort of your own home but the pressure isn’t any less. There are no #2 pencils but a mouse and keyboard can be just as intimidating. The timer is in the upper right corner of the screen, counting down the final moments of your life. The questions scroll by as relentless as a KGB interrogator.
Our second daughter faced this just a couple weeks ago. We sat her down in front of the computer, that mouse just laughing at her, and I could see the fear on her face, the uncertainty in her eyes. She’s a smart girl. She certainly didn’t lack the knowledge. She just didn’t have confidence. And a shortage of confidence can be a real killer.
Here are 6 ways to build confidence (in your children or anyone else, including yourself):
- Give them tasks that are within their knowledge and skill set. There’s no faster way to frustrate someone than to give him a task he is unable to complete (whether due to lack of knowledge, skill, or tools).
- Instruct them properly before assigning a task or challenge. Everyone needs direction and clear instructions. Navigating without a map can be disastrous.
- Set attainable goals and expectations. It’s okay to stretch a little but keep the goals within reach and expectations should be reasonable and reachable.
- Give them every opportunity to succeed. Nothing breeds success like success.
- Allow them the freedom to fail. Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” There’s nothing wrong with failure if the failure is used as a learning experience. Show them the proper way to fail, learn from the mistake or mishap, regroup, and try again.
- Give positive feedback. Don’t ciriticize, don’t belittle. Focus on what they’ve done right and celebrate that. Give constructive criticism when needed and follow it up with suggestions for improvement.
Question: What do you do to build confidence in your kids, yourself, or anyone else?
(I invite you to visit my other blog as well, www.mikedellosso.wordpress.com).