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Tips To Build Confidence In Children
The things that you do and don’t, words that you say and don’t, and feelings that you express and don’t, contribute to your child’s level of self-confidence. If you want to do and say the right things to help build confidence in your children, then read on.
1. Love and acceptance
We know that you love your child, no matter what. But does your child know that? Does she know that you love her, accept her just as she is, respect her and her choices?
Give your child plenty of love even if you are not able to do it all the time. Your child needs to know that she is loved and accepted, regardless of her strengths and weaknesses. Unconditional love is the foundation that your child needs, to grow into a confident human being.
Most importantly, remember to respect the person that your child is.
2. Focus on strengths, deal with weaknesses
Nobody is perfect, including children. But to raise a confident child, you should not dwell too much on the shortcomings. Positive parenting focuses on developing what is good in the child, and making children feel empowered. If your child feels defeated by disappointments in life (poor academic performance, losing in a sport, etc.), help her look at the bright side by talking about her success.
This is not to say that you should ignore her mistakes. Help her learn from her mistakes but do focus on her achievements, to remind her that she can succeed if she wants to.
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3. Don’t run to their rescue
It is natural for parents to feel protective about their children. You would be willing to do anything to keep your child from feeling disappointed, hurt, or defeated. But running to the child’s rescue every time they have a small problem is not a good idea because it prevents them from developing their problem-solving skills. A little bit of help now and then can be a good idea, but for the most part, let the child come up with solutions for her problems.
4. Let them make decisions
Decision making is an important life skill that the child needs to learn to be a confident individual. Decision making also empowers children as it gives them the ability to choose something. But children don’t have the maturity of an adult and may not know how to reach a decision all by themselves.
To make it easy for them, start by giving them two options and ask them to choose what they think is the best. For example, you can let your six-year-old girl decide what she wears to school as long as it is decent. But make it clear that she doesn’t get to decide if she wants to go to school or not.
By letting children make healthy choices, such as allowing them to pick their own clothes or deciding if they want their hair long or short, you are also teaching them to take responsibility for their decisions.
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5. Encourage and nurture their special skills
Kids have special interests. Some like dance and music, while the others are natural artists. Find out what special talent or interest your child has and encourage them in developing it. If your boy or girl enjoys painting, you could send them to an art class. If they like sports, you could encourage them to try the school basketball team or softball team.
Developing what is already good in the child is excellent for building confidence in them.
6. Give them responsibility
One efficient way of building confidence in children is to give them little jobs that they can do. The fact that you can do something successfully, all by yourself, can be thrilling. When you complete a task without any struggle, your mind is all charged up and ready for another. So give your little one simple things to do around the house and praise them when they do it well.
For example, give your eight-year-old child the responsibility of feeding the dog every morning. And when she does that without being reminded, appreciate her.
7. Praise when they deserve it
It is easy to reprimand a child when she does something wrong. And, we never forget to do that. But when the child does something right, we don’t always praise her. We are not talking about praising the child for every little thing she does well. But if the child has put in the effort and achieved something, or even managed to do something right for a specific period, appreciate it.
For example, if the child has remembered to feed the dog every day for over a week or two, without being reminded of it, appreciate her efforts. Even a simple “good job” can go a long way into building your little one’s confidence.
8. Teach positive self-talk
Self-talk is the conversations we have with ourselves. In fact, it is the most important conversation we have in a day. What we tell ourselves every minute has a significant impact on our self-esteem and confidence. Our thoughts affect our emotions and also our potential successes. So if your child believes she can do something and tells herself that every day, the chances are that she will succeed in whatever she takes up.
Young children can be in control of themselves, and set themselves up for success by telling themselves positive things.
9. Set them up for success with realistic goals
What is the best way to break a child’s confidence? Give them tasks they cannot do. Set them up with goals that they cannot achieve.
But if you want them to succeed in life and grow into healthy, confident adults, set them up with age-appropriate goals that they can achieve. Wanting to learn the piano is a goal, but wanting them to master it in a month is just not practical. The ideal goal would be to learn different notes and maybe come up with a small tune in a couple of months, with regular practice every week.
But if you ask the child to win competitions after a month of piano lessons, you are setting them up for failure and disappointment, not confidence.
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10. Teach them to be independent and adventurous
A confident child is not afraid to try new things. It could be trying the new ice cream flavor, going on the new ride at the amusement park, or meeting new people at the art class or debate club. Whatever it is, encourage the child to try something new. At the same time, teach them to embrace risks that come with it. They may not enjoy the new ice cream flavor or like talking to the new kid in the dance class. But at least they tried.
Also, allowing the child to go to class picnics, science tours, and camping trips can develop their independent streak and teach them how to handle different situations without your help.
11. Let them embrace failure
No matter how hard you try and what you do, you cannot control your child’s wins and losses. Like everyone else, your child will experience failure, disappointment, hurt, and even criticism sometimes, and that is okay! Don’t just tell the child to “cheer up” or “get over it” when they are disappointed with their performance.
Teach your child to be resilient and embrace wins and losses equally. Tell her that it is okay to lose sometimes and that she can try and win the next time if she wants. She can learn from her current mistakes and be successful at the task the next time. The idea is to help children learn that setbacks are normal and it is always possible to find a way to succeed after failure.
12. Be a positive role model
Are you confident about yourself? Do you have doubts about your abilities? If yes, how can you expect your child to grow into a confident adult?
Children do as you do and not as you say. Deal with your insecurities and confidence issues and be a positive role model that your child can look up to.
13. Encourage them to express their feelings, emotions
A confident child can express his emotions or feelings comfortably, but does not get overly emotional or aggressive to vent out. Confidence is about being able to express feelings in a healthy way and also knowing when to stay calm.
Encourage your children to express their feelings by talking or writing and also teach them how to stay calm in a difficult situation. Let the child know that it is never good to bottle-up her feelings so much that she bursts out when faced with the smallest of challenges.
There are some simple and easy ways of encouraging your kids. And nothing is better than teaching through play. Below we list a few activities that can build confidence in your children.