Confidence. It is something we all strive to have and hope our children have plenty of. Living without confidence can lead to a life of missed opportunity. Not having confidence reduces courage and we all want the courage to be the best version of ourselves and of course you want your child to get the very best out of themselves.
Developing confidence continues until it peaks at 60 years of age. This study shows that between the ages of 11-15 confidence is likely to plateau. With this knowledge, how can doing exercise help boost confidence for your child before they hit their temporary plateau?
If you have ever walked in to a new environment you know exactly how it feels to be unsure, nervous and worried. It is exactly the same for your child starting something new in their world. With a correct and engaging session plan, kids start to be involved straight from the first minute of the warm up. No matter what the activity or sport is, a gamified warm up get kids involved instantly. Fast forward to the end of the session and it’s high fives, big smiles and maybe a little bit of cheekiness from your child. This comes from the huge sense of achievement of completing the session and being far more comfortable in their new environment. That transition from unsure and nervous to high fives and smiles puts huge amounts of confidence into their internal bank of confidence.
After the first session, little confidence deposits continue when learning new activities and conquering once challenging activities. All of the effort required to learn and conquer new skills builds resilience, perseverance and confidence. Achieving anything thing from catching a ball for the first time, completing the monkey bars or simply just not giving up in a session continues to fill up their confidence cup.
Being around a positive mentor or coach who encourages, praises and builds up your child will also help your child fill with confidence. When there is that great rapport between a coach and your child, your child trusts the coach which leads to your child trying more and achieving more. These achievements increase self-belief, confidence and happiness. This is why finding the right coach for your child is as important as the right activity.
Finally, exercise release dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and oxytocin. Otherwise known as the “happy hormones”. When lacking these hormones children struggle to be motivated, procrastinate (even more than normal), have mood swings, struggle with sleep, are unable to concentrate and fail to complete tasks. All of these traits paint a pretty miserable picture. Doing any exercise for 30 minutes or more releases the happy hormones therefore improves all the struggles listed above. This has your child feeling hopeful, motivated and confident.
It has been known for quite some time that exercise is beneficial for several physical health benefits. Increased muscle mass, maintaining a healthy body weight, having normal blood pressure and increased cardiovascular fitness are just the tip of the ice burg. When your child knows they are healthy, strong and they can run well they have that in-built confidence. Knowing their body is “normal”- meaning they can do what they want to do physically whenever they want to- encourages them to be more involved and to try new things.
There is zero doubt that exercise is so important for your little one to give them the chance on being the best they can be. Not just from an athletic point of view but from a life skill point of view. Confidence is required to go for that job interview, to be motivated to try their best, to minimise mood swings and to be optimistic in challenging times. I understand the first step can be so scary but on the other side of that initial discomfort comes confidence that, with consistency, can be present forever.