How to Help a Clumsy Child Acquire a More Positive Self-Image

Children who are clumsy often grow up to dread physical activities because they see themselves as incompe­tent. These children develop a negative self-image about their coordination skills, and avoid any challenge that might test them.

Try the following tips to help a clumsy child acquire a more positive self-image:


  • Remind your child that he can do plenty of other things. While admitting your child has physical limitations, stress his strong points: how many friends he has, how well he learns new skills, how well he sings. He won’t forget his coordina­tion difficulties, but emphasizing your child’s positive qual­ities will strengthen his self-esteem.
  • Give your child physical challenges that are likely to lead to suc­cess. Your child’s self-confidence will be boosted every time he masters a physical task. Pick activities that are easy for him. Make the challenges appropriate to your child’s level of motor coordination.

  • Accept your child’s feelings if he gets upset. Your child’s tears after dropping his lunch tray in the cafeteria may seem silly to you because you know it’s not a very important event in the grand scale of life. However, to a child, “blowing it” seems a catastrophe. Don’t dismiss your child’s emotions as babyish—let him know you know how miserable he feels.
  • Don’t let your child avoid physical tasks. For instance, when you want a breakable object brought to you from another part of the room, you might naturally tend to avoid asking your clumsy child. Although this strategy minimizes poten­tial damage, it denies your child opportunities to learn how to improve his body movements. He needs these activities. Of course, you may want to keep valuable breakables out of your child’s reach, be he clumsy or not.

The term “minimal brain damage” is often applied to an extremely clumsy child, suggesting that a small amount of brain damage is underlying the coordination difficulties. However, no clear dividing line separates a normal child who is clumsy from a clumsy child who has minimal brain damage. The main way to categorize a clumsy child is by looking at other areas of his development. While a normal clumsy child’s devel­opment is adequate, apart from his coordination, a child with minimal brain damage frequently has additional problems, such as mild learning difficulties and confusion identifying left from right. These characteristics are found in many children who do not have minimal brain damage, but when a cluster of such attributes is present in a child, further medical examina­tion is desirable.

Filed Under: Lifestyle & Personality


About the Author: Alan Kennon lives a very happy life with two kids and a lovely wife. He likes to share his life time experiences with others about how they can improve their lifestyle and personality.

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