WORDS BY ERICA NEWTON, MYFIRSTGYM CO-FOUNDER
Building confidence in our children was so easy at first, wasn’t it? When they’re babies and toddlers, we can dish out smiles and praise for anything from holding a fork to waving hello. But as they develop and begin to interact with others (not just doting parents) that self-esteem and confidence can stumble, and even disappear.
As parents, we are all trying our best to raise happy, healthy kids, but when their confidence is knocked to the ground, how do we help them get back on those little feet again?
Why is confidence important for kids?
Our children will make mistakes, fall out of favour with friends, fail at something and lose everything from a pen to shoes to their most prized possession. Learning to deal with these disappointments is part of life and having the confidence to get up, shake off the dust and try again is a vital life skill. When our kids lack confidence, they do the opposite and retreat from joining in, feel unsure of themselves, and allow (even expect) others to treat them poorly.
On the other hand, a strong sense of self-esteem helps our kids do better at school, home and with friends. When they have confidence in themselves, they feel proud of what they can do, cope better with mistakes and feel resilient enough to try again, even when they don’t succeed.
How can you build confidence in your child?
The good news is that confidence is not dished out nor taken away in finite amounts: if our kids are lacking in confidence, we can provide endless opportunities to help them build it up again. Any time our children try, learn or master something new, their confidence develops. When we came up with the concept of inspiring movement with MyFirstGym, this was one aspect that excited us most: we knew that a gym for kids wouldn’t just be about building physical health, but their wellbeing as well. Dan and I didn’t have to wait long for proof that we were right.
The MyFirstGym Effect.
In the early days of our Hawthorne Club, a boy named Sam joined up. He was super shy and a bit overweight and had been teased at school about this. When he arrived for his first class at MFG, he lacked confidence, physical stamina, had few friends and to be honest, wasn’t that impressed about being there. But under the care and encouragement of our coaches, he started coming to class more regularly, and even began to branch out and try new classes that he had initially felt apprehensive about. As Sam improved in the classes, his confidence naturally grew and his demeanour changed both at MFG and at school.
After a year or so, Sam decided to have his birthday party (with a ninja warrior theme, of course) at the club. He invited a bunch of friends from school, showed them how to do the ninja course and even a few tricks he’d learnt. He was beaming with pride in front of his schoolmates.
To see the change in Sam over those months of MFG classes to this happy, confident boy surrounded by friends was fantastic. It also cemented the kind of value we knew MFG could provide to parents and children, who remarked on the positive change often. Soon, Sam’s little brother was also signed up for our classes, and the boys were at MFG almost daily. It was easy and affordable for the parents, and the boys were receiving a huge dose of confidence and improved physical health with every visit.
Sam’s story isn’t isolated though; it’s one our clubs tell time and again. At first, children might turn up to our clubs begrudgingly, but as The MyFirstGym Effect takes hold and they warm up to the environment, coaches and classes, they begin to flourish. Their confidence blossoms and positively transforms other areas of their life too, from friendships, school and even their attitude at home to their health and general wellbeing.
How can attending a MyFirstGym help build confidence in children?
At MyFirstGym, we know our parents value the confidence our programs provide because the tell us about it through surveys, when they speak to our coaches and like Sam’s parents, through glowing reviews and ‘thank you’ emails (these are the BEST!) In every single MFG class there are meaningful and enriching opportunities for kids to build their confidence and thrive both physically and mentally through:
- engaging in fun and favourite classes.
- making and reaching fitness goals.
- trying hard at a new physical skill.
- receiving guidance and praise from our coaches.
- feeling understood and accepted in a safe, caring space.
- meeting new friends.
- belonging to a friendly, caring MFG community.
When kids have self-esteem, they feel confident, capable, and accepted for who they are. Developing these outcomes for every child is something that underpins every MFG class and program. Has your child retreated into their shell? Do they lack confidence in school or making friends? Bring them into our safe and friendly environment and see just how affordable (and easy) building.
Find the closest MyFirstGym and build confidence in your children.