Summary webinar Steven Pont
At the end of 2021, the first webinar of Samenwerkende Kinderopvang (SKO) took place. The speaker of the evening was Steven Pont, development psychologist and system therapist. Steven spoke about self-confidence in children. An interesting story with many useful tips that you as a parent can get to work with immediately. Below you can read some of the tips Steven gave us.
Self-image of a child
Everything we say to children has an effect. Children build up an image of themselves from what we have shown them. The educators give meaning to the behaviour and the child internalises this. If we say to a child that he does something bad, we fill in the behaviour for the child. We think it is bad, but a child does not see it that way. All input from parents/educators creates an image of the child about itself. Self-confidence is confidence that you have received from your environment.
Let the child experience it
Children grow up by having experiences and we help them do that. We do not help children by taking something out of their hands or by telling them that they are doing something wrong. If a child builds a tower and you see that it is about to fall down: let it fall down. If the child is disappointed that the tower will fall down, ask them: How can I help you not to let the tower fall down? This will help the child. A child has an intrinsic motivation to want to develop a little further every time. Parents and pedagogical employees guide a child in taking those steps. Childcare practitioners know from their professionalism when a child is ready to take the next step.
Too much instruction
As educators, we often give too much instruction. We like to protect children too much.
Steven gave the example of children playing football next to a ditch. Do you let them play there or do you take them away because you’re afraid the ball will go into the ditch? If they have their swimming certificate, it’s not life-threatening and they’re not bothering anyone. At such times, Steven applies the following rule: 2 x no is yes. Is the situation life-threatening? No, it is not. Does it bother the environment? No, it does not. Then let the child have its own experience. This will increase their self-confidence. If a child gets a bump or a scratch, it has had good experiences!
Also with children who have a conflict, we are often too quick to solve their conflict. We must guide them to solve the conflict and not solve it for them.
Too much screen time
Steven warns against too much screen time. When children sit behind a screen, they do not gain experiences. Experiences are gained when you are interacting with other children or adults and when you are actually playing. Interaction skills are not developed by sitting behind a screen. Screens are addictive. If schools organise Rots & Water (resilience / anti-bullying) training for all children: according to Steven something is going wrong. Are our children experiencing enough? Do we sufficiently ensure that they solve their own conflicts? Children have fewer conflicts when they are behind a screen and then they do not learn how to deal with them. They learn more from playing and interacting and that includes conflicts. Educators then guide children to solve the conflicts in a good way.
Value the process
Steven Pont tells about a study by Carol Dweck: she gave two groups of children a job separately. With one group she said: how clever you are and you have achieved a good result. The other group was not appreciated for the end result, but only for their perseverance. At the next assignment, the first group of children chose an easy task and the second group of children chose a more difficult task. Conclusion: Value the process and not the product/end result. Do not link self-esteem to performance. When making a drawing, a child will benefit more from: ‘what a good job you did’, instead of ‘what a beautiful drawing’.
We would like to thank Steven for his inspiring webinar and we’re really looking forward to the next webinar with this time, neuropsychologist Erik Scherder. He will tell us more about the influence of music and movement on children. Hope to see you on 20 January, you can register via the link you received from us by email.
This webinar has been produced in cooperation with Steven Pont and Samenwerkende Kinderopvang (SKO)