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This month we look at  resilience. This is an important strength for your children to develop. We look at some tips for parents in this regard.

Resilience: What it is and how to build it

Resilience is the ability to get back on your feet after experiencing a hardship. It is a valuable trait that allows people to get through even the most challenging parts of life. It doesn’t mean never feeling hurt, angry, or bitter – it means being able to accept those emotions and not let them affect your entire life.

Resilience is best taught from an early age. When a person learns to be resilient when they are young, they end up growing into emotionally mature and capable adults. The type who can manage their emotions and circumstances, no matter what they are.

When it comes to children, though, it can be tricky to teach resilience. It takes time and patience from the parent. Luckily, it is more than doable if you know what you’re doing.

Tree in a desert
Every child can build resilience. This will last them for life.

What are some common setbacks for children?

Children experience a lot of setbacks that they must learn to bounce back from. They are learning curves and opportunities for the parent to teach them the art of resilience. Some of them include:

Some of these setbacks are a lot more serious than others. Getting a poor grade, for example, is incomparable to the loss of a family member. It’s important to consider that children feel emotions differently from adults, though. You might think a challenge in their life is not that big of a deal, but to them, it might be the greatest challenge of all.

Why resilience is so important for children

While you can’t expect children to show emotional maturity in everything they do (they are still learning, after all), it is important to help them bounce back after a challenging time. Otherwise, the setbacks will harm their academics, attitude, and general happiness. You want your children to thrive, and that means building resilience.

Plus, the more resilient a child is, the more confident they are. It helps them understand negative emotions, as well as the fact these emotions won’t last forever.

Sugar Ray Leonard motivational quote
Overcoming setbacks is the path to sucess and greater confidence.

How to build resilience in children

Now that you know how important it is for children to build resilience, you likely want to know how. Luckily, we have the answer right here. It takes time, but it’s more than worth it to ensure your child handles challenges well and grows into an emotionally mature adult.

1) Build strong relationships

Strong relationships are the key to resilience. When a child has a parent, teacher, or other trusted adult that they can rely on, they are far more likely to bounce back from situations. A role model is even better.

If your child struggles with a piece of homework, for example, having a trusted adult there to help them makes a world of difference. That could be you, as a parent, a teacher at school, or perhaps a tutor. If they have people who have their back, they will know that they can get through anything.

2) Let them make mistakes

Shielding your child from making mistakes will not help them grow. Instead, it will make them believe that they are immune to making mistakes – that you will always be there to ensure that they don’t. That won’t build resilience!

Let your child make mistakes (small ones, of course). Mistakes like putting too much sugar on their cereal or using too much water on their watercolour painting will help them face a challenge head-on. It might frustrate them at first, but they will learn from it.

3) Encourage them to keep trying

Resilience is built in the early years. You need the patience to grow for resilience to take hold. That’s why you should always encourage your child to keep trying, no matter what.

That is especially important with school work. When your child reaches an equation, book, or science problem that they can’t solve, you must encourage them to keep trying. Help them where you can, but don’t let them give up. Hiring a motivating and positive tutor can help when confidence is low. If they have someone there to help them through it, they are more likely to push through and thus build resilience.

4) Let them feel their emotions

Telling your child to get over something is not the way to encourage resilience. Instead, it will make them push their emotions down, which isn’t helpful for anyone, especially children! Allow them to feel upset, frustrated, or hurt when they experience a setback. That is a part of their growth. Then, once they feel better, tackle the problem with them head-on.

5) Encourage self care

It is never too early to teach self-care. When someone experiences a setback, it is healthy to do activities that make them feel better. Your child will benefit from learning how to look after themselves properly, especially when going through a challenge. Activities like reading, taking a breather, and talking to someone they trust are all great ways to lessen the emotional impact of a setback.

5) Don't do everything for them

It’s tempting as a parent to do everything for your child. You want them to have the best, after all. You might tie their shoelaces for them in the morning. Or, you might pack their school bag every evening. When they reach an age where they can start doing these tasks for themselves, though, let them.

They might struggle at first, and that is OK. In fact, that’s the biggest step toward becoming more resilient! Let them struggle (to a point) and then allow them to succeed independently. Over time, this will help them flourish. They will take that mindset into other tasks, such as classwork and playing musical instruments.

6) Celebrate the successes

When your child pushes through a setback and comes out the other side, you must celebrate that. Show them how well they have done. Tell them that they are strong for doing it – even if it was just a small setback. Remember – things that seem small to adults can feel enormous to children.

Building resilience in children means adapting new parenting techniques. It’s essential for raising a child that grows into an emotionally mature and self-aware adult.

boy on top of hurricane ridge, olympic national park, washington
Building resilience is a journey.

We hope this blog was helpful. Please feel free to get in touch with us should you have any questions about your child and their learning at school and at home. We enjoy talking with parents and helping our students by tailoring learning to their individual needs.

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