Most foster children have faced difficult challenges in their lives, which may have included instability, separation from their parents, and other traumas. Moving homes and leaving families can create a lot of uncertainty and inhibit a child’s sense of belonging and self-worth.
That’s why it’s so important for carers to help their foster children rediscover their inner confidence. Having confidence helps build the resilience to face any challenges ahead – and can greatly improve a child’s long-term prospects such as education and employment.
Confidence is also key in social situations, and increases a child’s ability to adapt, even when things don’t go the way they want.
So, how can you help your foster child build their confidence?
How to build confidence in children and young people:
Make time for play
Play is a safe way for children to try out new things and build new skills, which will in turn help build confidence. They get to practice decision-making, work cooperatively with others, and discover their inner strengths. Open-ended and creative play, in which children aren’t pressured to achieve any sort of final outcome, is particularly important for building confidence and self-esteem.
Working through a situation or experience through play – like playing dentist or doctor – can help a child feel more comfortable facing the real-life experience.
Give chores and help set goals
Show your foster child that what they do is valuable and makes a positive contribution to the family by giving them household chores.
Work with your child to set goals, from schoolwork to behavioural achievements – and celebrate when they complete them. Being able to mark their accomplishments can help a child build confidence in their abilities.
Listen when your child speaks, and talk to them about issues that are important to them and to your family. Show your foster child they’re important by how you react to their ideas and their actions, and encourage them to think critically and independently. These are valuable skills for building confidence, self-assuredness, and resilience.
Encourage trying new things
Encourage your foster child to try new things, but make it safe for them to fail – confidence isn’t about being good at something, it’s about having the resilience not to let failure stop you from trying. While so much of a child’s world is about measuring achievement – such as grades – it’s important for them to also experience learning from failure without feeling like a failure.
Give lots of the right kind of encouragement and praise
Encouragement and praise are great, but pay attention to the words you use. Try to frame success in terms of effort and perseverance, rather than the final outcome.
If your child studies hard for a test, praise them for their effort no matter what grade they get. Build confidence by encouraging the behaviours that lead to success rather than innate ability.
Help them discover their passions
Encourage confidence building activities for children to pursue. Make sure to show your own enthusiasm in the things they’re interested in – if your child shows a natural talent or passion for something, whether it be drawing, sports, or animals, encourage that interest as much as you can.
People naturally become better at things they enjoy because they do them more often. Encouraging your foster child to spend time on a passion will let them see how investing time and effort into an activity can really pay off.
Be confident in yourself, and share with your child how you overcome disappointments, mistakes, and other life challenges.
As parents and carers, we can sometimes try to shelter our children from the difficult life situations that we face. Sharing how you overcome these challenges with your foster child will give them a positive model for how to face the same kinds of difficulties in their lives.
Show them that they belong
For foster children, a feeling of belonging to a family and a community is a significant step towards building a sense of self-worth.
Show your foster child that they’re a valued member of the family by hanging their artwork and pictures of them around your home. Encourage them to get involved in community activities, and attend community events together to help build their feelings of belonging.
Are you ready to help a child in your community by providing a safe and happy foster home? Get in touch to chat with our friendly team about how you can be a part of the Compass Fostering community.
While it might seem to you that teenagers are always sleeping, in reality most teens don’t get as much sleep as they need – with 7 out of 10 sleeping less than the recommended minimum of 8 hours.
Why do teenagers sleep so much, why is it important for them, and how much do they really need?
We can all agree that the coronavirus pandemic has brought widespread change for us during 2020. The way we’ve lived our lives has been overhauled and our day-to-day hasn’t looked the same since the beginning of March – and that’s just us grownups. But what about our children and young people’s lives?
While smoking in your car isn’t illegal on its own, thanks to legislation passed in 2015, smoking in the car when children are around is. This important law applies to every driver in England and Wales, and protects children from the harm done by secondhand smoke.
Here’s what you need to know, and a few tips on other ways to stay sane with children in the car.
Is it illegal to smoke in a car with children?
It’s illegal to smoke in a vehicle carrying anyone under 18 years of age, and both the driver and the smoker could be fined £50 for doing so. Under the same legislation, anyone in a car carrying a child could be fined for not stopping someone else from smoking.
If you’re caring for a child who’s on the shy side, you’ve probably noticed that it can be a little difficult for them to make friends – especially in all the bustle of school. The good news is that there’s lots you can do to help your shy child gain confidence.
Support your child to show positive behaviour with these effective behaviour management strategies.
Behaviour management can help children learn how to act appropriately by giving them structure and guidance. Positive behaviour management strategies work by rewarding good behaviour instead of disciplining for doing something wrong. Rewards can be as simple as praise, a popular activity, or a favourite meal.
Millions of Muslims around the world will be celebrating the start of Ramadan this Thursday. Ramadan is considered to be most holy month in the Islamic calendar; it is a month for devout prayer and fasting during daylight. Sometimes it can be difficult to explain why Ramadan is important, especially to children or young people who may have never heard of it before.
While the rest of the country has been stock piling toilet rolls, the Compass Education team have been stock piling a list of useful home schooling websites in preparation for possibly long periods of school closures. These websites should ease that slight feeling of anxiety about how we are all going to cope with the Corona Virus Limbo and come out the other side.
Internet Safety for Children is a hot topic at the moment. Children are gaining their own digital independence from as early as the age of 10, a recent study by Ofcom states, so keeping an eye on your child’s internet usage is key when it comes to their safety.
Significantly less children are reading for pleasure; The National Literacy Trust has found. In 2019, just over half of 8 to 18 year-olds said that they read for fun, and only a quarter of young people read daily.
We all have a role to play in helping to make sure that the internet is a safe, fun place for young people to explore. This Safer Internet Day, we’re celebrating children being able to express themselves online, whilst being SMART.
We are not born knowing what it is to be a boy or a girl or with an assigned gender; whether we like pink or blue or cars or dolls, but we are encouraged into a binary from a very early age. If your child begins to continually reject their gender’s stereotypical traits, it can be surprising and sometimes unexpected.
What to do on results day:
The night before you collect your results try to get a good night’s sleep. Getting your results can be both an exciting and anxious time.
Make sure you know what time and where to collect your results and aim to be on time.
Well done if you have achieved or succeeded your grades!
If you tried your best but haven’t quite achieved the grades you hoped for or needed for your next step whatever that may be – don’t panic!
If you have applied to a college and haven’t achieved the exact entry requirements, contact the college in the first instance. Colleges can be flexible and depending on your grades it may not make a difference however it is advisable to call them. On some occasions you may be offered a lower level course which just means you have an extra year of study but this can be a good thing as you will gain more skills and knowledge along the way and give you a good understanding of your subject for the following year’s course.
Sixth form and year 13
For sixth form and year 13, if you haven’t achieved the desired grades speak to the post 16 adviser within the school, they may be flexible with entry requirements depending on your grades.
However if you do not have the desired grades for 6th form it is hoped you have a back-up plan of another school or college place. Call the school or college immediately on receiving your results.
Many colleges will accept applications on results day if they have the places available on their courses.
If all else fails and you find yourself without a post 16 or college place, there are other options such as apprenticeships and training providers offering courses which have start dates after September.
Most importantly speak to the adults around you who will help you to make decisions.
Unhappy with your exam results?
If you are unhappy with your results, speak to your teachers about the best options for you. You might decide to see your exam paper, go for a review, or re-sit your exam.
Congratulations if you have achieved the grades you needed for your chosen University course.
If you haven’t achieved the grades you needed you can apply for other courses through Clearing.
Clearing is a service from UCAS which gives students a final chance to apply for a university course beginning in September. It runs from mid-July to September each year.
In Clearing you can see which courses have places remaining. You can use Clearing if you:
• have already completed a UCAS application
• apply after 30 June – You’ll automatically be entered into clearing if you apply late for your course (after 30 June)
• didn’t receive any offers (or none you wanted to accept)
• didn’t meet the conditions of your offers
Finding a course through Clearing
You can find out which courses have vacancies through UCAS from mid-August to late September. Not all universities or courses have vacancies, and some may be filled quickly.
You can contact universities and colleges about getting a place once you’ve got your exam results.
Learn how clearing works
Accepting an offer
You can only accept 1 offer. When your place is confirmed, you have to accept it and can’t look for another place.
Help & advice
Contact the UCAS Exam Results Helpline for free advice – 0808 100 8000
Useful websites and apps:
Apprenticeships – www.findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk/apprenticeshipsearch
The Princes Trust – www.princes-trust.org.uk
UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Application Service) – www.ucas.com
National Careers Service – www.nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk
Child line (free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people) – www.childline.org.uk
Stop Breathe & Think. A free mindfulness, and meditation app aimed to reduce stress and anxiety – stopbreathethink.org
Calm. A free meditation app to reduce anxiety, sleep better and feel happier – Calm.com