10 Things to Say to Preschoolers to Give Them Courage and Confidence

If you know preschool children, you know that they naturally love to explore and discover. That’s one of the things that make them so lovable.

Everything with them is new and exciting.

10 Things to Say to Preschoolers 1

But they can quickly lose this sense of adventure when they encounter challenging, unfamiliar situations unless they have grownups around them who coach them through and show them they can do it!

It’s a scary thought, but the way we communicate with our children in these sensitive moments could be the key to their sense of self-confidence for the rest of their lives.

If we are equipped with what to say in sensitive, childhood learning moments as well as everyday moments, we are preparing to launch brave, happy, confident people into the world.

In the first 5 years, many vital milestones occur in children.

Psychologist Erik Erikson developed a theory about stages of human psychosocial development. The first three stages he explains are from infancy through the preschool years.

The first stage is Trust vs. Mistrust

Caretakers, by their treatment of a child under the age of two, teach the child that people are trustworthy or not. This gives the child a basic sense of security or insecurity.

The second stage is Autonomy vs. Shame

This stage takes place up to about four years of age. A child raised well in the first years will develop a sense of assurance, control and independence.

The third stage is Initiative vs. Guilt

In this stage, through the preschool years, the child learns to engage in imaginative play, cooperate with others, lead and follow well.

When fear and shame are predominant emotions, the child will instead be restricted in play skills, may hang back and not participate with others and continue earlier levels of extreme dependence on the parent.

If you’d like to read more about the psychosocial stages, you can buy his book, The Lifecycle Completed, by clicking this link. (By the way, as an Amazon associate, I earn with purchases at no extra charge to you).

If the adults in a child’s life can foster security, self-assurance and courage in children, we will be setting them up for future success.

10 Things to Say to Preschoolers

to Give Them Courage and Confidence

Here are 10 major areas where we can affirm, encourage and instruct our children.

If we use phrases like these in these early years, preschoolers will develop the courage and confidence to move out into their new adventures knowing they have what it takes!

1Security – let them know they are safe – it’s the foundation for their growing independence.

Say this: You are safe. Mommy and Daddy love you and will always take good care of you.

2 – Confidence – remind them of past successes and assure them they can succeed in new circumstances.

Say this: You can do this! Remember when you went to the play group and did great?

3Individuality – let them know they are unique and specially gifted.

Say this: You are such a friendly kid! You’ll be good at making new friends.

4 – Support – let them know you will always be rooting for them.

Sat this: No matter what, I will always be there when you need me.

5Emotions – let them know that their feelings are normal and then help them work through them.

Say this: I can see you’re feeling angry right now. I can understand why. It’s hard for us when we don’t get what we want.

6Choices – Even when they can’t have what they want, making a choice gives them a sense of freedom and power.

Say this: We’re not having candy right now. You may have cheese or apple slices. Which would you prefer?

7Responsibility – let them know that their choices have consequences.

Say this: You can get your blocks out, but you will need to put them away when you’re done.

8 – Creativity – let them know their special, unique creativity is noticed and appreciated. Pick out one or two particular aspects of their work and praise them for it.

Say this: I love the combination of colors you chose for the feathers in your painting.

9 – Character – let them know when you see their positive character traits. We often only acknowledge misbehavior. Catch your kids acting right and point it out.

Say this: You were very kind to share your favorite toy.

10 – Worthiness – let them know that what they do and who they are is worth your time and attention, even if you can’t stop everything and pay attention right now.

Say this: I really want to see your tower of blocks. It’s important to me. I’ll come take a look at it in (5) minutes.

 

Here are some books and add-ons that help preschool children with a positive self-concept. Click on the title for more information.

Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt. Helps kids face new and sometimes scary situations with confidence.

Whatif Monster Plush Toy Companion to the book, this stuffed Whatif Monster is for kids to tell their fears and worries to.

Cordelia by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt. Lets kids know they are capable.

Cordelia Doll Companion to Cordelia story to remind kids that they can do it like Cordelia did!

I Love You Hoo by Rachel Bright. Sweet read aloud expressing love for children just the way they are.

You Are A Star by Ariella Abolaffio. Encouraging read aloud to instill a positive sense of self.

Here are some books to help grownups understand and communicate better with their kids. Click on the title for more information.

The Lifecycle Completed, by Erik H. Erikson. Understanding child development is important to parenting.

How to Talk so Little Kids Will Listen: A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7, by Joanna Faber and Julie King. Teaches parents positive communication skills that will get results.

Preschoolers Are Ready and Willing Adventurers and We Can Help

Preschool children love to venture out and try new things, but they need grownups around them that give them a strong foundation and cheer them on as they go.

The messages we send them, verbal or otherwise, become the foundation upon which they build their sense of self for a lifetime.

Children are subconsciously asking these questions all the time:

Am I safe?

Am I lovable?

Am I important?

Am I enough?

Let’s do everything in our power to make sure that they can answer those questions with a big “Yes”!

What are some of the ways that you instill confidence in your kids? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Hope for Unhappy Stay at Home Moms

You have the greatest job on earth and you know it.

Most days.

Other days, you’d rather just stay in bed and pull the covers over your head, screaming silently (or aloud!), “Leave me alone!!”

But, of course, you don’t stay in bed. Precious little ones are putting their adorable faces right up to yours and saying, “Mommy, I’m hungry” or your infant is crying.

Commitment and instinct rule the day and you drag yourself into the bathroom to start the all-too-familiar routine over again.

You brush your teeth, throw your hair into a pony tail, wash your face, don some jeans and a t-shirt and wonder when you’ll be able to fit in time for a shower. Taking a long, hot shower has become the extent of luxury in your life.

Before you know it, you’ve put in your first load of laundry, fixed a quick breakfast for the kids and now you’re sweeping Cheerios off the floor.

That’s how you begin another exhausting day of meals, cleaning, wiping rear ends and noses.

There is also another battle going on. The one that can’t be seen.

I chose this life.

I know it’s best.

I love my kids.

But…

I’m bored and frustrated.

I feel undervalued and unappreciated.

I feel guilty for taking it out on my kids.

How dare I be down when I’m so blessed?

I don’t want to give up.

I can’t give up.

But how can I continue when I’m so unhappy?

 

Our Challenge

Some days are easier than others. There are plenty of days when our hearts are full, and all is well. But even then, there can linger an underlying sense that we are missing out on something that a job outside the home would give us.

Many stay-at-home moms feel undervalued and unappreciated by society and maybe even by their family and friends.

Those who had a high-paying, prestigious job before deciding to stay home might miss the daily, positive feedback they received. There are no paychecks, glowing annual reviews, raises or Christmas bonuses for a stay-at-home mom.

For others, the unknown can be just as trying. “What if I had a career instead of this. Maybe I need to get out there and make something more of myself.”

There’s little positive feedback. That’s why leaving the home can be so tempting.

The Hidden Issue

I don’t think our choice of vocation or the lack of positive feedback is the real problem. Even moms that our culture applauds for succeeding as “go-out-and-work” moms can feel inadequate, and many do!

The cause of our discontent is not found in what we’re doing.

It’s found in what we think about ourselves while we’re doing it.

Long before we have children and decide to care for them full time at home, we can have an underlying feeling of not being good enough.

This year I’ve been looking at my childhood as I’m working through some negative self-perceptions that I’ve carried around all my life.

My dad was a fun-loving Irishman with a great sense of humor and he loved his family. However, I’m seeing now that he lacked the good communication and parenting skills that would have made me feel valued and important.

When I was four years old, my dad decided that I would no longer go with my mom when she went shopping. He thought I was getting spoiled.

My mom has a memory of me standing on our porch, crying as she drove away. It must have been hard for her, too. But she didn’t argue with my dad. I remember feeling scared, confused and alone.

If my dad had taken me inside and played a game or read a book with me, it might have lessened the sting of rejection. But he was not that type of dad.

So, I was left standing there on the porch believing I’m spoiled (I’m sure I had no idea what that meant), something is wrong with me and whatever was going on, it was all my fault.

Circumstances like this root deep into the minds of children who naturally lack the maturity to process them in a way that prevents those negative perceptions of themselves. They hear:

“I’m bad.”

“Something is wrong with me.”

“I have to be better so that dad will be happy with me.”

Those are the messages that we take with us as we grow up. We keep trying to prove our worth by performing to win approval. We hope it will make us feel better about ourselves.

We finally realize after wearing ourselves out, that no matter how well we perform, it doesn’t seem to take away the sense that we don’t quite cut it.

The Healing

I recently read a book called The Soul of Shame by Curt Thompson, M.D.  It’s full of insight into the areas of the brain, shame, unworthiness and how to heal.

Dr. Thompson explains how our brains are literally wired when we are children in response to the way we are treated. If we’re not validated by the people closest to us, even before we were born, we internalize shame and lack of self-worth.

The great news is that our brains can be rewired by replacing the negative thinking with the positive. It’s simple, but not necessarily easy and won’t happen overnight. However, it’s worth it!

One of the reasons that I love children is because they are naturally unashamed, full of love and free. I want to be that way, don’t you?

There’s hope! We can restore that childlikeness that makes every day an adventure and turns work into play. It’s never too late.

First, start by replacing the destructive recordings in our mind with these truths:

  • I am specially created by God.
  • I am and always have been worthy of love and appreciation just for being me.
  • I am and have always been more than enough.
  • I am a gift to the world.

Next, consider finding a qualified pastor or therapist to help you work through some of the shame and hurt in your life. It can hide just about anywhere and uncovering it can be the start of a life-changing healing process.

Third, consider getting these books to help you on your journey. They helped me and I know they could help you, too.

The Soul of Shame, Curt Thompson, M.D. Rewrite the story of your life and embrace healing and wholeness as you discover and defeat shame’s insidious agenda.

The Anatomy of the Soul, Curt Thompson, M.D.  An amazing journey to discover the surprising pathways for transformation hidden inside your own mind.

Shame Interrupted, Edward T. Welch, PhD. Look at Jesus through the lens of shame and see how the marginalized and worthless are his favorites and become his people. God cares for the shamed. Through Jesus you are covered, adopted, cleansed, and healed.

Healing the Child Within, Charles L. Whitfield, M.D. Healing the Child Within describes how the inner child is lost to trauma and loss, and how by recovering it, we can heal the fear, confusion and unhappiness of adult life.

A Gift to Myself: A Personal Workbook and Guide to Healing the Child Within, Charles L. Whitfield, M.D. Using numerous experiential exercises that the reader can do at their own pace, physician and author Charles Whitfield takes us on a healing journey into our inner and outer life.

Stay-at-home mom, you truly are doing the most important, valuable, impactful vocation there is on earth, no matter what anyone else says.

I wish you well on your journey, dear one, and I’m rooting for you!

Feel free to contact me directly by clicking the Contact tab or leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your stories.

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