With being a drama teacher for well over a decade to little people, I have learnt a few valuable golden nuggets on how to really bring out the gold and potential in little people, whilst nurturing and growing their confidence.
Some children are more naturally outspoken, loud, verbal, and confident, whilst others are more withdrawn, anxious, soft spoken, shy, and like to observe first before making connections. Which means every child is different in how they perceive and experience the world around them. Therefore, their confidence will be at different levels, and will ultimately grow and flourish differently.
Sometimes as parents or as teachers, we can fall into the trap of assuming that all children will respond to praise and discipline the same. When in actual fact every child along with their unique personality trait, actually needs to be praised and disciplined in a way that is personal for them.
How can we do this?
1. Get to know them
Children are constantly growing and evolving, from the things that captures their interests through to how life experiences shapes them. It’s important to get to know them, know what makes them tick and why. Know their interests, their insecurities and fears, along with their dreams.
Knowing them, and making the time to get to know them personally will lay the foundation for to help bring the best out of them, as you will have a greater understanding of why and how they experience things.
2. Encourage them
Upon knowing their dreams, fears and insecurities, you now know where or how to encourage specifically and intentionally. You will have the power to speak life and courage into fearful spaces, which will encourage and motivate them to keep going.
When teaching drama to kids who are more anxious, or shy, I make a concerted effort to encourage them especially when I know how hard it for them to perform in front of others. This in turn makes them feel noticed for facing fears, which in turn builds their courage.
3. Challenge them
If children do not feel challenged in what they are doing, they plateau and lose motivation and inspiration. Therefore, challenging them stretches them mentally and emotionally, which in turn shapes their confidence. Overcoming challenges encourages confidence and resilience.
4. Walk with them
Growing confidence in young people is an ongoing journey that we choose to walk with our children. That means facing the good and the bad times with them, and encouraging them in and through those moments. Even now as an adult I am so appreciative of my parents who still to this day speak life and courage into my heart, which in turn encourages me to feel more confident.
5. Encourage them to help somebody else
Another way to grow your child’s confidence is by encouraging them to help others. This in turn encourages them to model confidence, whilst helping others.
6. Celebrate them
Over the last decade of teaching drama, I have only ever taught big classes. Somehow my classes attract the shy, the anxious, the loud, the quiet, the sporty, the dramatic, the academic, anyone basically. Many parents will say to me: “I have no idea why, but my child loves your lessons!?” I don’t think I do anything different drama exercise wise, but I do place a lot of focus on encouragement, and celebrating the uniqueness of every single child. I do not expect children to fit a mould, and become something that they are not. Instead I celebrate how special and unique they are, I celebrate and acknowledge how they overcame their challenges, and how they choose to express themselves. Therefore, they trust me, they feel comfortable being themselves around me, and they celebrate themselves and each other confidently!
Every day we have an opportunity to speak life, courage into the hearts of the little people in our care. Which in turn could change the way they approach life and all the obstacles that life sometimes throws at us. Everyday we can choose to celebrate how special and unique they are, it’s not too late to speak courage into your children’s hearts!