Believing in your Children (Read about their Day 19 in charge )
I have gotten a few responses and questions about how I survived letting my children be in charge or how I allowed it in the first place. I mean, my oldest is only 9! Mostly, believing that they are capable and having no expectations.
Believing in your children gives them confidence. You are the ones who re-insure them that they are capable. By believing your kids are capable they develop a strong sense of self which helps them understand their own strengths and weaknesses.
Believing in your kids makes them willing to try. When children believe in themselves they are much more willing to try for themselves. When they ask for help, provide it in a minimal way. Do not do it for them. Ask them guiding questions and even if you know their answer is wrong or wont work, let them try it anyway because learning by doing it will intensify and solidify their learning experience. When it doesn't work, ask what they could've done differently. Now, they can either try again or let that sink in for a while until they are willing to try again. If we solve all their problems and do everything for them when they are young, how can we expect them to do it themselves when they are older?
Believing in your children will allow them to treat hardships as learning experiences rather than devastating failures. It teaches resilience. While starting Play Adventures, I have hit many bumps in the road. I have felt upset by these “walls” but then the next day I think of a way to overcome the hardship and this idea is sometimes better than the last. Children can feel disappointed with obstacles, it's normal, as long as they persevere and try again. This may take many times before success is reached but believing in themselves will allow them to try again. Sharing in your hardships shows that it happens to everyone.
Compass- When children are young we are their compass. We teach them what values are important, we show them our imperfections, they are very aware which family member has what strengths. We also guide them in their own self worth by complimenting or remarking about their achievements and lack thereof. (on a side note- it is important to give very specific compliments and very specific criticisms). By giving them positive and constructive attention they will seek less negative attention because any attention is better than no attention. When they ask for it, you need to let them lead so they can try it out, practice, begin to be their own compass and discover themselves. Eventually you will need to let them lead the way completely.
When they are 3 let them lead their play.
When they are 6 remind them that you believe they can do it (this is the time when they compare themselves to others to understand their own self)
When they are 9 and want to be in charge- let them. (this is the time when they begin critiquing you and believing they are more than capable)
This leads to autonomous children! (Read about their Day 19 in charge )