Anxiety and fear are often difficult for children to overcome. Nevertheless, when they take a step outside of their comfort zone to confront a fear, recognition and verbal praise can make them more confident. Encouragement and acknowledgement may make them more comfortable as they try to conquer their fear. As children become braver, their courage can be acknowledged with a tangible gift that will instil pride and help them remember to try to be brave.
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One of the scariest activities for a child may occur when he is diagnosed with a serious illness. In Canada, the Hospital for Sick Kids has a bead program, which provides children the opportunity to obtain a bead on a necklace every time they undergo a medical procedure. The bead acknowledges the child's bravery. A similar bead program could be applied to other brave acts as well.
Children who display bravery in school, camp, or other social settings can receive certificates of bravery. These can be made inexpensively on a computer and will give students a sense of pride in their accomplishments. Consider giving certificates to children who perform brave acts such as standing up to a bully, conquering a fear or trying a new activity that might be scary. Keep certificates on hand to give to a child as soon as the brave act is completed, or distribute them during an awards ceremony.
Create a keepsake for the brave child by giving her a plaque engraved with her name and acts of bravery. To emphasise the importance of the award, present the plaque at an assembly or honours ceremony acknowledging the child so that others can recognise her bravery by applauding.
The U.S. military began issuing medals to acknowledge bravery in 1861. Medals can also be used to acknowledge the courage of a child. Present clip art medals for instant acknowledgement of small acts of bravery, or distribute real medals at an awards celebration or in front of a group. Acknowledgement of their accomplishment will increase children's confidence and may make them less fearful. If you provide medals attached to ribbons, children can proudly wear their medals of bravery.
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