Saturday, April 09, 2005

Build Kid's Self Confidence at the Park

What is your favorite way to build your child's self confidence?

My favorite spot is definitely the park. I can spot them on most activities and help them stretch their little bodies to the limit. I took L(5), T(3) and cousin O(3) to the park this morning.

I started my spotting by helping L zip across the parallel handle apparatus. She grabbed each handle and shuttled herself across easily. "I did it she exclaimed."
"You sure did." I replied.
"Again, Again."
We went back and forth about a dozen times. I kept sliding the handles back to her so that she could shuffle her little body across the poles. Next she wanted to spin on the giant steering wheel. I held her lightly while she hung from the big wheel. She moved herself around easily. She jumped down on her own and then it was T's turn.
"My turn please!" T shouted.
I boosted him up and he held on tightly. He was not strong enough to move the wheel. I spun him around while holding his bum on my forearm. Then I started spinning him faster. I pretended (slightly) to get dizzy and feel backward onto the sand. I cradled T for a gentle landing. We laughed and staggered as we both got up.
Next it was O's turn to learn the fireman's pole. He was too afraid to jump off with his back foot and commit to the ride. He kept shying back from the pole. I finally convinced him to jump off to the pole while I held his feet.
"I did it uncle Dave!" Oliver exclaimed with pride.
"You sure did O." I responded.
The most heart warming part of the day was when L and O climbed up onto a high stair on the jungle gym. T was really struggling with it. I started coaching T through the climb.
"You can do it, T. You've got it."
L and O also got into the act. "Yeah T, you are doing it!"
T, was laughing while trying to shimmy his way up onto the platform. "I haven't done it yet." He said through constant giggles.
Finally T got a foothold on the pole to his right with his dinosaur boot. That got him high enough where he could wriggle the rest of the way on his belly.
I took T at least 2 minutes to get up onto that stair. He really persevered and made me extremely happy to see that persistence. I was also so excited and proud to see his sister and cousin cheering him on. They truly seemed to care about T's success in that endeavor. They were also emulating my cheering and I was happy to be a model of that behavior.
Finally I loaded the 3 of them into the tire swing. O wanted to spin, L wanted to swing, and I think T just wanted to sit. I helped them reach a compromise of swinging and spinning. Everyone seemed quite happy with the result.

So how about it? Do you have a special way that you like to foster self confidence in your kids?

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