Kindergarten Readiness & Early Learning Basics: Confidence

Parents and caregivers often ask what young children need to know before kindergarten; this is the 12th in a series of blog posts on kindergarten readiness and early learning basics. No matter the age of your little one, this will give you a general picture of what to do as your child’s very first teacher.

When it comes to learning, it’s much easier if you start with the idea that you can do it. We all know that confidence and a positive attitude are beneficial in any situation but children are not born with them already in place. It is up to us as parents and caregivers to help children build this kind of outlook.

Decades ago, in 1971, the psychiatrist and author Rudolf Dreikurs advised that, “The most important skill for raising a child…is the ability to encourage that child.” He described encouragement as positive feedback on effort instead of on achievement. Parents do this with very young children. Think of a baby’s first attempts to walk. Parents smile and prompt and celebrate even if the baby falls down. Over the years, though, we somehow forget to give that same encouragement for trying or improving and only recognize success.

When a child is putting the pieces of a puzzle together it is important to recognize the effort. Saying something like, “You are trying that piece in lots of different places to see where it fits,” is encouraging. It is then much easier to help the child learn about checking the shape to see if it fits into a space or looking at the picture for clues.

Considering how much learning a child will have to do over a lifetime, it is important to have a positive and confident attitude toward the challenge. And there will be many. Are there some ways that you can encourage your child to be an eager learner?

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