Cultivating Confidence at Home

This post is in sponsorship with Sylvan Learning.

Confidence: “A feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities.” (New Oxford American Dictionary).

Wow! Do you feel how impactful this definition is when you really consider it? Just the other day, I was dealing with a lack of self-assurance from my own abilities, even now as an adult. I certainly don’t want a lack of confidence to play a major role in my boys’ lives as they grow. I want to help my boys feel self-assured in whatever ways I can! This leads to a larger question, how can we cultivate confidence in our homes? 

As parents, both Michael and I work hard to ensure that our kids are given small, accomplishable tasks around our house, in their school work, extracurricular activities, practice, and skill development. We have found this enables them to feel accomplished, proud and to have the ability to take on the next step or the next biggest task at hand. The goal is to instill a confidence that will help them in accomplishing big goals in the future. I’m also going to share how I always work to praise the good they’ve done before I challenge them on what they could do better next time. 

Small Tasks Accomplish Big Goals

Building Confidence at Home

Around the house, we base the boys’ tasks on their age and what we’ve noticed they are able to succeed at. 

For chores, our younger boys are able to load the dishwasher alongside the older boys and me, use the stick vacuum to sweep, load the washing machine, pick up their toys, and put their clothes away.

For the older boys, they are able to accomplish all of these chores and some extra ones, like mowing, shoveling snow, cleaning bathrooms, etc. Since we have had this system in place, our older boys are now able to direct and delegate tasks impressively!

The same goes with being responsible for themselves. When they’re little, Michael and I bear the primary burden for their personal hygiene. As they grow, they are given more and more responsibilities in this area, and I love seeing how they value their health and pride themselves on taking care of that now. 

In working with Sylvan Learning, I have seen how they also work to increase the confidence of their students by working one on one with students to accomplish small tasks. Then they show students how they worked toward a bigger goal. (More about this in the next section below.)

Once we have given them little jobs that they have succeeded at, we give them more challenging ones, and I’ve loved to witness their confidence soar. 

In working with Sylvan Learning, I have seen how they also work to increase the confidence of their students by working one on one with students to accomplish small tasks. Then they show students how they worked toward a bigger goal. (More about this in the next section below.)

Building Confidence in Schoolwork

As a mama of a few boys with dyslexia, working to build up confidence in this particular area has proven to be challenging. With reading and spelling being the hardest subjects to navigate and affecting all subjects, I am so grateful to find experts who can come alongside me, as a parent. Sylvan Learning is an incredible resource for parents and guides me in enabling my boys to not only feel confident, but KNOW they’re succeeding! 

For reading, I’ve worked to give my boys simple books they can finish completely on their own, while also challenging them to finish a few pages of a harder book! This way, they’re accomplishing both an entire book and challenging themselves at a smaller, more difficult task. For spelling, we work on their current lists, but also often refer back to older lists they know. This way they can gain confidence in spelling by both practicing what they already know AND challenging themselves with current goals. 

As a parent, if you’re struggling right now with even knowing where to start when it comes to schoolwork and how to instill this confidence in a child, I really do encourage you to reach out to Sylvan Learning. You can talk to someone there, see what kind of tutoring would work best for your child, and what would best help their academic confidence! I’m so impressed by all they have to offer parents and how they work alongside you to figure out the best solution for each individual child. 

And, from now until May 9thSylvan is offering their insightassessment for just $29 (regularly $199)! Their assessment uses a combination of computer adaptive skill assessments, observations and attitude surveys to really get to know your child. So, if you’re not sure where your child is struggling or excelling, the insight assessment can pinpoint EXACTLY what your child needs help with!

Building Confidence in Extracurricular Activities

Our boys love trying out all different types of activities to find what they love most and do best, and we encourage that. 

One of the ways we teach them the value of working hard in this area, and therefore, gaining confidence, is through practice and showing up. Commitment can be a lost character trait in today’s world, but both practice and showing up develop this trait and allow confidence to grow. 

Commitment is also something that Sylvan Learning works to instill in a child by teaching them how to practice and how much it helps to show up, learn, and grow. A child that learns this skill will not only grow into a confident adult, but an adult that is appreciated and respected by those around him or her. 

Praise first, challenge second 

This is often well spoken about, but not often well done. The easiest way for a child to develop low self-esteem and lack confidence is by being criticized and challenged oneverything they do. 

I have to CHOOSE to make praise the first thing out of my mouth when instructing and guiding any child, followed by a challenge of how it could be done better in the future. I prefer the word challenge over criticism as it gives them hope and a goal, rather than simply reflecting and focusing on failures. When we highlight success, it allows little ones to see the good that they have done. This helps to diminish the severity of the challenge and provide room for improvement and not shame.

Do you struggle with helping your children to feel confident? I would love to hear from you and how you work to build self-assurance in your little ones, and some tips and tricks you might use! As parents, we are always learning as well. It is so important to use resources around you I’m so honored to be in a partnership with Sylvan Learning and to walk alongside a company also committed to the same goals I am as a parent. They value children, desire to instill confidence in them, work hard to praise them and then challenge, and want to see ALL children succeed! 

Thank you for reading and I hope these hints were helpful to you!

Your friend,


5 Tips for Surviving and Thriving In the At-Home and Remote Learning Experience

This post is in partnership with Sylvan Learning.

It’s been 330 days since life has been “normal” where I live, can you believe it? And we, you and me, made it! 

Yes, nearly a full year of mostly remote/hybrid learning or schooling at home has meant more time at home, more messes, bored kids, confused and overwhelmed spouses, kids, families, financial instability and fear. 

And yet, here you are, surviving, maybe even thriving in these uncertain times. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I posted this photo on my Instagram @arielctyson right after the schools closed back in March 2020 for the first time:

And it still is very much a jungle, but we’ve navigated, learned and grown! I want to share a few tips that have helped me get through this past year and some helpful tools I discovered through Sylvan Learning HERE which complement our homeschool curriculum. 

The combination of our curriculum and supplemental resources have helped us to further enhance both the boys’ educational journey and build confidence in learning new things. And let’s be real, it has helped in my journey as a homeschool mama. My confidence in teaching them is often like a roller coaster ride, especially with 6 very active boys, who often learn best hanging from the aerial hammock, bouncing on the exercise ball or running through the yard.

If you are feeling anything like this, first give yourself a hug, you are amazing and raising beautiful children. Hopefully, my five tips for surviving, and hopefully THRIVING, in the remote/hybrid or all-at-home learning experience, will help!

Tip #1: Don’t be rigid. Every child is different and every child’s strengths and weaknesses are unique. Be fluid with their education. Make goals for your day and try to reach them, but don’t focus on the negatives. One of the focuses of SYLVAN LEARNING is to enable parents and kids to regain confidence in themselves and their education, and this is one of the ways that I do that. Not every child fits into the same box so I use different tools for each of my boys, based on their needs.

Tip #2: Use outside resources. This is one of the ways Sylvan has come in to play in our daily learning. Did you know that, along with their personalized online and in-person tutoring, they also offer academic coaching, test prep and advancement, STEM programs, homework and study skills and homeschool support? My boys have even been using their learning assets, like their Elementary Math Games and Puzzles:

And I can use these resources to dig deeper into concepts they don’t understand or easily grasp. It’s so important to take time to go over what they don’t understand. We then move quickly through anything they easily grasp so they don’t get bored. I focus on growing their strengths, like robotics, art, history, handwriting or music, with my school-aged boys, and support them in that. I then look for extra support for the areas they struggle in, like reading and spelling for my two boys who deal with dyslexia, which is where personalized tutoring support comes in handy. I also utilize apps, games, puzzles and videos:

Tip #3: Take breaks. This, my friends, is for both the kids and the mamas or dads! We take both planned and unplanned breaks throughout the day. And, especially if there’s any frustration, we take a break, get some energy out, and come back to it later. What they do on a break looks different for each child. Encourage your kids to find what works for them! I have one who needs to flip on a trampoline, one who wants to build with his Lego blocks, one who wants to ride his bike, one who wants to check out the STEM class with SYLVAN LEARNING and another who would prefer to paint.

As a parent, what is something that would fill your cup during a break? For me, that’s often a quick walk outside, a latte or some reading. Be sure you’re meeting those needs for yourself so you can function with a clear mind!

Tip #4: Teach organizational and time-management skills. Kids aren’t born with these skills and many adults don’t have them because they never learned them as kids. It takes practice and I was so excited to discover this past week that SYLVAN LEARNING offers training to turn a procrastinator into a time-management master, as you can see in the sample here:

I want to set my kids up to not only do well in school in the years to come, but for when they enter the work world. With so much at-home learning going on, it can often be easy to neglect the development of time-management skills, and while I am fluid in how I teach them, I do want them to have set times, goals and deadlines for getting tasks accomplished, so I loved finding this helpful tool. I also use timers, alarms and my calendar on my phone to keep them on track, and they’ll use the same tactics on their kindle devices for themselves.

Tip #5: Foster independence. I’m often asked how I manage to take care of all of the things in my home, homeschool and work from home. Well, the truth is, my boys handle a good bit of their own responsibilities. They’ve been taught to be independent and enjoy the independence given to them. 

Now, will I expect my three-year-old to perfectly clean our toilets? Ha! Definitely not! But I do expect him to put his own clothes away and clean up his spills. I’ve worked on fostering independence by not only showing my kids how to do it when they ask, but by training them how to do it by themselves every single time. And guess what, they THRIVE off of the independence. Are they perfect every time? Absolutely not! Do they need to be regularly reminded? Most every day (especially for the younger ones who seem blind to any of their stuff being left around the house!), but as they grow, my older boys now do so much on their own. 

For example, my older three were trained early on how to log on to their online program for school and maneuver around their curriculum portal, only asking me questions when needed. This has helped them become more confident because they understand how to do so many things for themselves, and it helps me when caring for all of my responsibilities.

Do you already implement any of these strategies or methods? If not, will you give them a try and share your experience with me? I hope these five tips for any type of at-home learning have been helpful to you! Do you have any methods or strategies that differ from these? I would love to hear about them! Please remember, if you have any questions for Sylvan Learning, head to Have a great week!

Your crazy boy mom friend,