Last weekend, I gave a talk on How to Stand up to Bullies and Raise Good Kids and wanted to share the two things you can start doing today to help your kids stand up to bullies and be a the type of kid who is “good.” Those two things are raising their self-confidence and teaching them empathy.
Here is a list of things you can do to help your child be more confident.
Highlight the positive. We spend a lot of time correcting our children’s behavior which can cause kids to think negatively about themselves.
Encourage their interests regardless of if they are good at it. Your child might be an average artist or athlete, but if they like it encourage them to continue by praising their efforts. Learning how to persevere is an important part of gaining confidence.
Model confidence. Stand up for yourself, express your emotions appropriately, challenge yourself in front of your kids. Use positive language and don’t quit.
Here is a list of things you can do to teach your child empathy.
Make a kindness jar. When someone in your house does something nice for other people place a pom-pom or gem in a clear jar. This helps children visually see their (and your) acts of kindness. For young kids use a smaller jar so they get the reward faster. When it’s full celebrate by doing something fun together as a family.
Make an empathy bead necklace. Identify different colored or shaped beads for different feelings and when your child is feeling different emotions have them add the corresponding bead to a necklace, pipe cleaner, or other piece of string. Hang the strands from a stick to make a wall hanging, or have them hand their necklace somewhere. This helps children pay attention to a normal range of emotions and start identifying them for themselves and other people.
Make joy rocks. Paint rocks and leave them in different places for other people to pick up. Helps kids learn to do things that make other people happy.
Create Kindness Bingo. Create a chart with 12 - 16 squares (less for younger children). In the squares write things like, gave a compliment, helped someone clean up, made a picture for a friend, played with a new friend, etc. When they accomplish something and have them mark off the square they completed. When they have gotten a line or filled their board reward them with something special. This can be extra screen time, a later bed time, special one on one time with a parent or a small gift.
Take them to volunteer with people. Have them help serve food at a soup kitchen or on a lesser scale make and deliver food or a craft to someone in your neighborhood who may be having a tough time.
And of course, if you need some help, we are your Village and we are always here. #youareawesome #TOVillageWellness