Sunday, January 31, 2010

Cultivating Confidence

Confidence isn't a trait I've thought much about in relation to my three-year-old. I imagined that would come into play more when he starts school or joins a sports team. But, then I saw this article on PBS Parents and something clicked. Without fully realizing it, I've been noticing some changes in J lately that basically boil down to confidence. (Read the article here.)

If you follow me on Twitter, you've seen the updates about what a boisterous, energetic and happy guy we have. He's articulate, very social, and wakes up most days asking where we are going to go.

Seeking a way to release some of this energy, I signed him up for a trial class at The Little Gym. He's always running, jumping, climbing, bouncing and dancing all over the house and the furniture, so I knew this was right up his alley. Surprisingly, though, he cried and clung to me for the first half of the class. It's the preschool class, so parents were supposed to sit outside and watch through the glass wall. I wasn't granted that luxury though, and spent 30 minutes on the floor of the gym with him clutching and clawing at my neck every time a teacher approached him and asked if he was ready to join in.

At about the halfway point, he shut off the waterworks just like that and said he was ready to do some climbing and jumping. I walked him over and, sure enough, he was more than ready to let loose! He ran and tumbled and danced his face red over the next half hour.

This is where that article comes in. One of the pointers is: Let Your Kids Grow in Their Own Time. The author goes on to say that nothing hurts confidence more than being pushed to do something you're not ready to do.

So, I guess I did a good thing by letting J sit with me, observe, and then make his own decision on when and if to join in. I didn't push him, but I didn't pack him up and leave either; I left the choices to him.

With that experience, I think both of us got a little boost to our self-confidence! He's been talking about gym class a lot and says he wants to go back. I had the encouragement of seeing one of my parental decisions being very successful. Which will give me the confidence to follow another piece of the article's advice: Trust Your Own Intuition.

I'll leave you with a little song from The Sound of Music that popped into my head as I was writing this:

I have confidence in sunshine,
I have confidence in rain.
I have confidence that Spring will come again;
Besides which, you see, I have confidence in me!

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