3 Ways to Help Children Develop Resilience
What does a child do when faced with a challenging situation?
- Give Up
- Find an adult to fix the problem
- Attempt to solve the problem
What is resilience? It is the ability to recover from difficulties.
What are the key factors in developing resilience? Here’s what we know about resilience:
- It is not genetic, it is a learned response. This means as parents and educators we can not only be role models but teach our children to be resilient.
- Children who develop resilience most often have relationships that are characterized by boundaries, consistency and support.
- Children who are resilient don’t live lives that are always easy or fun. Instead they develop self talk and coping skills to handle the challenges that life throws their way.
As we move into the new year, full of resolutions and goal setting, one important lesson that we can share with children is that goals are worthy endeavors even when they are difficult, time-consuming and energy draining. Preconceived expectations often influence our efforts. When children grow up in an environment where they expect everything to be fun, fast and easy, they don’t develop the necessary mindset to take on challenging goals. Instead, children develop the mindset that “I deserve this because I want it,” rather than, “This is hard but I know I can do this.”
What can you do to teach ychildren resilience?
- Teach them to be problem solvers-Help children recognize that life is full of all kinds of problems for everyone. Rather than fix problem situations for them, help them develop ways to think about the problem and through trial and error figure out ways to solve it themselves.
- Be a role model– Share with children the problems that you face and how you go about solving them. Ask for their input.
- Maintain a positive outlook– Teach children that challenges can either be a burden or a gift, it is a choice. Let them know that you believe in their ability to do hard things.
Resilient children are hopeful children. Despite personal doubts or fears, they are children who are willing to set goals even when they are hard and difficult. They are children who recognize their own ability to create change in the world.
Want to read more about kids and developing resilience? Here’s a great read with lots of practical suggestions for schools:
Thrivers, The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine, by Michele Borba, Ed.D.
Need a quick, ready-made lesson on mindset and resilience? Check out:
Wyatt the Wonder Dog Learns about Mindset
Wyatt the Wonder Dog didn’t make it on the All Star baseball team and he feels like a loser. All his friends will be playing baseball this summer, while he and his pesky sister, Callie, visit grandparents at the beach. How Wyatt learns to handle disappointment and failure will be an important lesson for the future. Will he give up trying new things? Will he have the confidence to try again? Are there some things that take more practice and persistence to learn than others?
This book is funny! Its dogs doing things that only people do! I learned to try new things. ~ ~Samuel Traub, Age 6