Did you know that building resilience in children can significantly shape their ability to face life’s challenges?
According to the American Psychological Association, resilience in children is a crucial trait that empowers them to adapt and bounce back from adversity.
In this article, we will delve into the various strategies you can employ to nurture resilience in children and equip them with the tools they need to thrive.
What Is Resilience?
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Resilience has been defined as the ability to bounce back from stress, challenge, tragedy, trauma or adversity.
It can be seen in the way children learn to think and act with efficient problem solving skills, determination and courage when they are in emotionally challenging situations.
As parents, our role is to instill skills of resilience in our little ones to help them deal with different circumstances such as adjustment to change in the classroom, new city, separation or death of loved ones, bullying, abuse, rejection by peer group and/or siblings, community violence and natural disasters.
Importance of Building Resilience in Childhood:
Developing resilience in kids lays the foundation for their lifelong emotional well-being.
Research by Child Trends highlights that children who possess strong resilience skills tend to have better mental health outcomes and improved academic performance.
By helping children learn to be resilient, we equip them with a valuable skillset that can positively impact their overall quality of life.
7 Ways to Build Resilience in Children:
Realistically, it may not be possible for us to be with our children each time they face a difficult situation.
Not being equipped to handle such circumstances can make our children feel vulnerable, fearful, anxious, helpless, sad and lonely. Here are a few ways in which you can help your children build resilience:
Ensure social support:
Our first responsibility is to help our children build supportive relationships with parents, teachers, relatives, siblings and friends.
They do best when they feel loved, accepted, understood and secure. Through positive daily interactions, children learn to be giving, kind and supportive of others when they are faced with difficulties.
Encourage them to ask for help:
Children will often have the idea that being brave is about dealing with things by themselves. Let them know that being brave and strong means knowing when to ask for help
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The way we react to things has a lot to do with the way we think about the situation.
Thinking skills play a big part in our ability to regulate our emotions and behaviour, so it is important to give children opportunities to think and act independently.
Allowing them to make their own decisions will also help them develop a sense of mastery, be less reactive to stress, and more able to handle future challenges.
When children see that their parents also face challenges at times but still make efforts to overcome the stress, that not only normalises difficult experiences for them but also gives them the opportunity to learn how to respond to similar situations in their lives.
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Develop a positive outlook:
Let the child know that change is a part of life and help them understand the positive aspects of difficult situations (for example, treating it as a learning opportunity).
This is an important part of self-regulation as it helps us to feel better about things and builds hope.
Build the child’s self esteem:
Confidence in one’s abilities and an “I can do it” attitude motivates one to keep trying even when things are difficult. It is then that our efforts are more likely to pay off.
Give the child responsibilities for small things and avoid comparing them to other children.
This helps them believe that they are capable enough to handle things, and treat failures or setbacks as a part of learning.
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Encourage problem solving in creative ways:
Encourage your child to think about “how” he/she can possibly solve situations. In schools, this can be done through group discussions where children come up with alternative solutions.
Writing essays such as “When you helped someone”, or “When somebody else helped you”, or “When you managed to get through a difficult situation”, helps reinforce the learning.
Resilience-Building Activities for Kids:
Engage children in activities that promote problem-solving and emotional expression. Art, storytelling, and outdoor adventures can help them build resilience while having fun.
Building resilience in children is a gift that keeps on giving. By helping them develop the ability to bounce back from setbacks, we empower them to face the complexities of life with courage and strength.
As parents and caregivers, we have the opportunity to shape their futures by fostering resilience and helping them grow into emotionally resilient individuals who are ready to tackle whatever comes their way.