He is a confident force to be reckoned with!
Really and truly, he wants to be a super hero when he grows up. If that doesn't pan out, he's sure that he will be "the best Globe Trotter EVER!" (despite the fact that his current basketball skill is that he knows what a basketball is). He assures me that he is a faster runner than me (despite the fact that he begs me to slow down so he can catch up when I'm running and he's biking with me) and asserts on a daily basis that he will always be older than his sister (which is, in fact, true).
Unfortunately hurt feelings can accompany all of this young confidence. He's starting to discover that other people's athletic skills are a bit more fine tuned than his and that hitting a ball with a bat is harder than it looks (even with a tee)! This makes my job as his mom a bit more challenging this summer than I thought it would be.
Thankfully I have some good stuff in my arsenal.
1. YMCA Rookie Sports Camp - My son spent the first week out of school at the soccer/t-ball rookie camp. I was thrilled that the core value they promoted all week was Sportsmanship. In addition to working on dribbling, catching, hitting (and running in the right direction), the group of 4-8 year olds learned how to encourage one another and celebrate success without being arrogant.
2. Books that promote kindness and acceptance of others - Now that he's reading independently more regularly, we're reading books together and discussing them the first time through. Then he rereads them on his own. After we read them again as a family (with little sister!) I have him tell me something the main character learned in the story. This often leads to an age-appropriate discussion about if/when he faces that situation what he can do. Where's Your Smile, Crocodile? by Claire Freedman was a good one we read last week that showed the importance of helping others. I was also happy to discover an Early Reader that chronicled a pair of friends who struggled with competition: Cork & Fuzz: Good Sports by Dori Chaconas. And you'll notice the new book Nico & Lola: Kindness shared between a boy and a dog by Meggan Hill in the photo below.
3. Family Runs/Rides - I DO want my son to feel confident, but I want him to feel good about specific things he can do (not just what he *thinks* he can do!). So even though when he rides his bike while I run it makes my runs s-l-o-w-e-r, I know this won't always be the case. To build his confidence as a rider, I'm using the time to cheer for him when he's doing well with detailed compliments: "Wow! When you steer straight like that, you can go farther faster!" or "I noticed how smoothly you took that turn!" These become part of our reports to his dad at dinner time and then we set a skill focus/goal for the next bike outing. Of course, riding on the tag-along on the back of Dad's bike during our family trail rides is great, too.
4. Water Balloons - Good ol' "Catch" isn't a favorite at our house (i.e., we have strong reading skills, but need to work more on hand-eye coordination!), so now we're working to make it fun and game-like so he can be successful when he plays a bit more seriously with kids at school or the playground. Water balloons are great for this on these warm summer days.
This last summer before he heads off to Kindergarten promises to be one of growth for all of us. I'm glad that fun can be at the base of all of it!
How about YOU? What do you do to help your children strike a healthy confidence balance? What's in your fun/learning parenting kit?