As adults, we tend to look at setbacks in life in a different light than children. For children, a simple problem seems daunting since they need more experience and insight. Therefore, they don’t possess the “shake it off” response adults do.
Kids are not naturally very resilient—but need adults to guide them on how to be. You can build resilience in kids if you adopt certain practices when the going gets tough.
Be An Example In Everyday Life
A child is learning to be an entire human being by watching you. What you do, how you do it—they learn by observing and replicating. That said, children learn to become resilient faster and better when they have examples in daily life.
So, the next time you deal with a setback, figure your way around it by involving your child. It could be a broken piece of toy, a negative relative, or even an extremely challenging math problem.
Use positive words and set a tone of determination when you talk to them and push through the problem till you solve it, preferably with them at every step of the way to observe you.
Remain Positive About Emotional Responses
Crying and showing frustration are perfectly natural responses to a setback. Resilient humans despair over their problems till they find the strength to get back up.
If adults are can take time to work through negative emotions, then you cannot expect kids to “stop being a baby” or “quit making a fuss.”
Did you know that emotional growth does not stop until the age of 25? To build a resilient child, you have to first realize that they are nowhere near the age of emotional maturity. Then, help them navigate their emotion so that they develop a smooth flow of responses from sad/angry to resilient.
Boost Their Problem-Solving Skills
Resilience is about more than just coping with setbacks. It’s about pushing through using problem-solving skills. And these skills, while to some extent naturally learned, need to be reinforced by adults.
There are a few simple ways to improve problem-solving skills in kids to help them be resilient successfully:
- Don’t hold their hand all the way. Help them make a plan and then step back a couple of spaces to give them room to try their thing.
- Give ideas and advice to make them strong. Like a vitamin-rich supplement for stronger bones, you provide relevant guidance for a stronger mindset.
- Let them make mistakes. Supporting a child through a challenge means leaving room for error so that they learn about both prevention and control.
Encourage Them To Try Again
Imagine your kid coming back home having just lost a football game or the election for class president. Firstly, they need sympathy, which most kids will get. Next, they’ll get a treat to make up for the loss, which, once again, most kids will have. Finally comes the part of “what’s next”?
Do you tell your kid that it is okay you lost? Do you tell them whatever happened, let it go? Or do you tell them that you’ll get it next time?
To build resilience in kids, let’s go for the last option. You need to let a kid know that it’s okay to lose and, at the same time, to assure them that you believe they will succeed. Kids who’ve had grown-ups believe in their capabilities while growing up become adults who don’t give up!
Enable Coping With Change
A person’s resilience is put to test the most when they go through a significant change in their lives. For kids, the heaviness of a change builds up much, much more compared to adults. In such cases, supporting them is the way to go.
For starters, gently introduce a kid to a change. Be it shifting to a new home or new school, having a sibling, any unfortunate breakup in the family, and so on—kids need to learn how to deal with the new normal in baby steps.
Focus on the positive of the change. Then, gently remind them of any possible negative aspects—and that they will be okay when those happen. And finally, be a source of support and guide them to solve the problems when they show up.
The Tough Get Going
Children who develop resilience are less likely to get anxious when facing problems. Rather, they’re prepped with the right emotional tools and ready to face the day.
If you’d like to learn more about making children strong and resilient, you can always turn to the inspirational words of Chidi Iwuchukwu. Book him for your next academic or social event today!