When you are a coach, educator, parent, or anyone who spends time with a group of kids, it is important to be a great mentor to all the children you are in contact/work with. This means, you ideally want every child to feel seen, appreciated, cared for, and valued. Here are 5 small things you can do so that every child in your classroom/on your team/ in your care, feel that they matter.
1.Give A Meaningful Compliment.
This one is super easy! Give a child a compliment. Whether you comment on their new superhero t-shirt, their effort on homework assignment, or how they improved on something they were once struggling with, a positive comment/compliment can be a great mood booster and will definitely make the receiving party feel good about themselves.
2."I Noticed..." Statements
Similar to compliments, "I noticed" statements blatantly state that the child is indeed noticed! You can get creative with this one, too!
3.Use Them As An Example/ Demonstration
If you are in a classroom setting this is as simple as "Wow! Katie is doing a great job at following my directions and she is taking notes like a good learner!". Or, on a sports team you can have a child show a skill. Dance teachers and coaches do this often by having a dancer show a specific move, or by having them preform the routine and pointing out key elements such as the timing!
4.Spend One-On-One Time With Each Student
Whether it is for a 30 seconds, or a few minutes, try to spend one-on-one time with and give attention to your students. This personalized attention makes the child in question know that you are aware of and value their presence.
5.Ask About Their Families Or Life Outside Of School/Sports etc.
Children love to share with their mentors about their lives. If you give them the opportunity, child will love to tell you about themselves and their interests. This probing shows to them that you have a vested interest in who they are as a person, not just as a student or player etc. They will feel important and know that you care.
Every child in the room comes in with their own backgrounds, baggage, and stories, and every child wants to feel valued and appreciated. Some days some may fall through the cracks, and it will happen, because nobody is perfect. However, taking the steps and putting in the effort to make the children you work with feel seen, will allow them to further strengthen their relationship with and trust in you, and will in turn they will further build their self-esteem.
Feel free to comment below any additional ideas you may have!