Sometimes your children really surprise you and make you proud. This week was one of those moments.
N isn’t a loud child. He’ll chat non-stop once he’d got the measure of someone, and is confident being around them. But he’s not one to push himself in the limelight or put himself forward for things.
He’s definitely not a risk taker. He’ll give things a go once he’s assessed them.
The last years of school, the school council representatives have either been decided by the teacher at the start of the year. Or there was only 1 person who wanted to stand. But now in key stage 2, they’re trying to encourage more of the children to put themselves forward and write a speech so they can get voted in.
N had categorically said he wouldn’t be standing. I wasn’t surprised at this, although I think he’d have potential if he was given a position of responsibility. But it seemed no one else from the class had prepped or wanted to make a speech. So they were set homework to write a speech in preparation for themselves forward the following week.
Let’s just say there were a lot of moans about doing this homework as N didn’t see the point if he wasn’t going to stand. But we discussed the structure of the speech, then he decided what he wanted to write. I encouraged him to think about why the school council was important. And then what he would do if he was the year group rep.
I did have to suggest a few words, but N was determined in the ones he chose. I hoped he wouldn’t have to read it out because he wasn’t for sticking to basic more ‘N’ style words and instead wanted to use words like ‘solutions’ which he then couldn’t read back. Sigh. There’s no budging some people!
He was so pleased with his speech and giving it some structure and context would have been great in an English exam paper. But the time he’d completed the homework speech I think he’d convinced himself that maybe he could be the rep and that he wanted to try for it. I did comment in his homework book that N was worried that if he ended up being the rep he was concerned that he’d not be able to remember everything to report back.
By Monday morning though, he was ready and willing to stand. I didn’t think he’d go through with it and I knew he wouldn’t read out his speech in class. Given in 3 years he’s never done Show and Tell, and never stood up in assembly to share his weekly achievements (even when he got his 25m and 50m swimming badges in the same lesson), it was unlikely.
I didn’t want to push it when he was home because it was obvious he’d not been voted as the rep. I’m sure he’d have been shouting it out otherwise. In fact, he was really sad at not winning. It seems he does have a competitive side.
We had a chat about what happened, how people voted, and who had won. Thankfully they didn’t know the actual votes which is good. And the girl who’s the rep is much more confident and outgoing than N so I’m not surprised she was an obvious choice for people. He said the teacher read the speeches and in the end about 12 stood to be rep which is a good number.
N wasn’t feeling positive that he’d be able to stand over the next 3 years, but hopefully he’ll be able to pick himself up, and maybe next year be brave enough to read out his speech. And maybe I’ll get him doing a bit of hustling for votes lol.
I’m just so proud that he decided to stand. That he was able to change his mindset to be more positive that he would be able to do the job if he got the vote. Sometimes children just need some positive thinking and confidence boosting. Pointing out the great skills and abilities that they do have for certain activities. Let’s hope it’s not put him off standing for positions in future.
My top tips for confidence building in children
1, Ask questions if they’re worried about something. Try and draw out what’s worrying them. If they can’t verbalise it, use pictures or get them to draw something
2, Keep reiterating their strengths and positives
3, Work through ways to work on their weakness to improve them or turn them into positives.
4, Encourage them for things they’ll achieve easily, but also support them to try for new things. Teaching them along the way that not everyone can be great at everything but we can still give things a go
5, Give examples of similar activities that you did as a child that maybe you failed at or learned from.
6, Celebrate the successes.
7, Remind them of how far they’ve come as well as what’s been achieved.
I always encourage N without always remembering what I was like as a child. He certainly does a lot more than I’d have done at his age, but I do have to pull back sometimes and let him just do his own thing. Let him be comfortable. But sometimes children have to learn to put themselves forward for things more confidently to be able to get on further on in life and not miss out on opportunities, so a little boost on occasion, especially where a good outcome is possible, is worthwhile giving.
Are your children happy to put themselves forward for things like this? How do you encourage them?