Resilience enables children to cope with, and bounce back from, obstacles that occur. It’s all about having a toolkit readily available to overcome these challenges more easily and effectively. There are many aspects which contribute to building resilience, from relationships, personality, environment – and even genetics. Ultimately, we cannot prevent stressful events from occurring, however we can prepare children to adapt and navigate change more easily. We are going to share some of our top tips on how children can become more resilient, and also techniques that parents can implement to encourage this.
Nurturing a growth mindset is a great place to start with improving resilience. A growth mindset fosters motivation and persistence, as well as a willingness to embrace challenge and interpret failure as an opportunity to grow. Developing a growth mindset may be something that children require some support with, especially if they naturally tend towards having a fixed mindset.
There are a few ways in which parents can support children to adopt this approach and outlook on life. Praise and pay attention to your child’s effort if they have worked hard at something, even if it doesn’t result in the desired outcome. Give your child permission to fail, and frame it as an opportunity to learn and grow. This will enable them to foster problem-solving, creativity and perseverance, rather than shying away from challenge in future. Keep the big picture in mind and remind your child that life, both personal and academic, will have obstacles, but also plenty of exciting opportunities.
Mindfulness represents a significant part of resilience, due to its ability to calm and control reactions. It’s a great idea to introduce mindfulness to your child’s daily routine. Apps and podcasts, such as Calm and Headspace have developed extensive resources for children including positivity, kindness and being calm. Keeping a mindfulness journal is also a good way to improve understanding around emotions. For example, making a note of what happened during the day and how that made you feel. Exercise is also really important to manage stress, for example taking a mindful walk, or online yoga course to practise meditation and breathing exercises in a fun and interactive way.
Communication is closely linked to mindfulness and understanding your emotions. Encourage your child express how they are feeling and also to be able to label their emotions. This will allow you to introduce appropriate strategies to use when they experience these feelings. Asking for help is also another important aspect of communication. Knowing who, and how to ask for help when something is beyond your child’s comfort zone is a really positive step. This will teach them strategies that they are able to implement for themselves in future.
Help to reframe negative thinking
Difficult situations can be made worse by negative thought patterns, making it seem like these obstacles are in fact harder to overcome than they are. Using techniques which foster positive thinking, such as, a gratitude jar or positive affirmations, may help to reframe negativity. Ultimately, this will help your child to feel more confident and capable in tackling their challenges.
Problem-solving and critical thinking skills will help to boost resilience. Encourage your child to consider a problem, possible solutions and the pros and cons of each. To begin with, they may require some guidance on formulating a well-rounded argument in order to reach the optimal outcome. By challenging and discussing your child’s ideas, this will also nurture their ability to think creatively, critically and outside of the box.