Sometimes a child feels pressure from adults to perform to a certain standard. This can be the result of praising a child. When we praise children, we think we are encouraging the behaviour to be repeated, but often the opposite happens. The child feels he must duplicate the action to a high standard in order to please his parents and he would rather not try, in case he does not measure up. Avoid praising your child, and instead talk to him about how he feels about his accomplishments will help. It is a great way to let him focus on his feelings rather than yours.  Children need to know that our love for them is unconditional and we are there for them when things go well and especially when there are mishaps.

Sometimes we want our children to do things before they are developmentally ready. Reading, riding a bike and even playing on the monkey bars are examples of things that a child needs to be ready to do before they have the confidence to try. We see this at school all the time. As parents and teachers we need to keep our agenda for children to ourselves. If a child thinks we need them to read, for example, they may balk with simple counter will. We can create the opportunity, but then we need to allow them to exert their natural curiosity to explore the world around them. Rewarding children or otherwise cajoling them may achieve a short-term change but very soon they will likely stop. The last thing you want is a child who will only try things or persevere for rewards rather than for the love of learning something new and interesting.  

When your child comes to you, excited about an accomplishment, focusing on his feelings rather than yours, will allow you to share his joy and him to feel good about his learning. Similarly when he comes to you in tears of frustration at something that has gone wrong, listening to his feelings and holding him close will allow himself to be sad at how things did not work, and let him adapt and move forward to try again another day. It is important not to try to fix things for him.

Continue to talk to your child about how much fun it is to try things, and have fun, even if they cannot do them perfectly. There is a wonderful book for children, called, “The OK Book”, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichenheld. It is a simple book that lets kids know that it there are a ton of things in the world to try, and we cannot be good at all of them but just being okay is just fine. 

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