Self-esteem affects every virtual school student’s growth and well-being. Your student’s self-esteem is especially important to consider now that it’s National Bullying Prevention Month. Children who are bullied usually develop low self-esteem in response to the criticism they hear. Until these children regain self-esteem, they will struggle to be happy and healthy.
Keep in mind that boosting a child’s self-esteem only affects how he or she views him- or herself. Surprisingly, research has shown that self-esteem doesn’t affect academic performance. Struggling students need something else: self-confidence. In one study, students with high confidence scored higher on a test than students with low confidence. To do better in school, your child needs to develop confidence in his or her academic abilities.
Tips for Building Self-Confidence
There are no shortcuts when it comes to gaining self-confidence. Because confidence grows from knowledge and experience, kids need to work hard until it develops naturally. Take a look at the tips below to help your child improve and build confidence in his or her performance.
- Get motivated. The first step to gaining self-confidence is getting started. To be successful, your child has to want to do well in school. You can try the 9-step motivation model if he or she isn’t motivated. With this motivation technique, you and your child work step by step to develop and execute a plan for finding success.
- Plan ahead. Preparation is vital to success. Your child can’t do his or her best without scheduling enough time to finish assignments and study for exams. Show your child how to make his or her goals more manageable by breaking large projects into small parts. Then he or she can set deadlines to stay on track. Throughout the preparation process, help your child maintain a positive outlook so he or she learns effectively.
- Assemble a learning toolbox. Part of planning ahead is gathering educational resources for you and your child. Start your collection with the 10 resources you need in your back-to-virtual-school toolbox, which will help the two of you kick off each semester. Next, make sure your Learning Coach Toolbox includes some simple student motivation tricks to keep your child on track. You can also add book resources, math tools, and other subject-specific resources to fit your child’s individual needs.
- Award praise. When your child does a great job, celebrate it! Share his or her work with other family members and then hang it on the fridge. Katty Kay, co-author of The Confidence Code, says, “The virtue of confidence is that it is constructed on solid achievements,” so every success will help your child become self-confident. In addition to giving praise, try implementing a reward system. A reward system helps children by keeping them motivated and reinforcing positive behavior.
- Learn from mistakes. Effort deserves your praise, too, even if the results aren’t perfect. Set aside time each week for you and your child to go over recent grades. Don’t let him or her get discouraged by wrong answers—instead, help your child learn from mistakes. Struggling is a normal part of the learning process, allowing students to develop independent study skills and build personal grit. Struggling with certain concepts, topics, or skills can also help you and your child identify areas that require extra attention.
- Repeat the process. Building confidence takes time. Throughout the school year, pay attention to how your child’s successes and failures affect his or her well-being. Consider his or her motivation, time management, organization, stress, attitude, and any other characteristics that affect the learning process. If your child needs to work on a particular issue, use the 9-step motivation model to improve. To ensure that your child has opportunities to grow, give him or her more responsibility when you think he or she is ready.
Ultimately, virtual school students need a combination of self-esteem and self-confidence. Feeling good and doing well in school will empower your child to pursue success in every area.