Genuine confidence is a way of thinking about yourself and your abilities. Confidence is your perception of your own potential; it’s a kind of long-term thinking that powers you through the obstacles and tough times, helping you solve problems and putting you in the way of success. Your confidence is quite a separate matter from your social skills.
John Eliot, Ph.D.
An avid quote collector, Dr. Eliot’s words offer me a way to tie up the topic of helping kids relieve stress by becoming “endorphin motivated” through “locomotion motivation” which hinges on positive self perception, or confidence. As parents, how can we foster confidence in our children that inspires physical activity, a known stress reliever?
Be a cheerleader! Our children look to us for support, approval and encouragement (even if their actions say something different.) But cheering for the sake of cheering stops short of instilling confidence. Instead we need to take into account a child’s current skill level and cheer her on to the next.
Helping our kids set realistic goals is another confidence builder and physical activity motivator. That’s why, in my opinion, it is great for a child to be involved in an individual sport. Take swimming for example. Each race is an opportunity to improve on your own personal time. The benchmark belongs to you – it is yours to break, establishing a new personal best. And then, challenged to go beyond, the process begins all over again and confidence grows.
Hearing those cheers and reaching personal goals are two of the three components needed if we want to instill in our kids the desire to be physically active. The third component is FUN! Perhaps this fun comes from being with a certain group of people or maybe it is derived from a personal sense of accomplishment. Either way, the desire to be physically active is being reinforced, building a behavior for life.
Speaking of fun, in “Kid’s and Stress” I mentioned that laughter is an endorphin producing activity. That’s right. It turns out that the muscular exertion used to create a joyful “Ha, ha, ha!” produces a shot of endorphins. On that note, here’s something to leave you laughing![youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjXi6X-moxE]