Tips for building resilience in children

Children often face a lot of challenges in their growing up years, ranging from coping with competitions, studies, building competence, adapting to new school, being bullied by classmates and many more. The ability to  move forward and overcome these challenges helps build resilience. Several child psychologists believe that resilience not only helps children manage stress but also anxiety and uncertainty that is likely to lead them into depression. Resilience is the ability to scale through challenges and find ways to bounce back and flourish. Here are ten ways in which you can help your kids build resilience.

Become a role model: Parents are already role models for their children. Every time parents take an action or have a reaction to a situation, children are observing their behaviour. When you stay calm and composed in dealing with life’s challenges and express feelings in a constructive way, you are teaching your children to build resilience and handle stress at the same time.

Secure bond with a family member: Children feel safe and secure through close attachments with their family members which gives them the confidence and assurance that they will be safe and protected irrespective of the trials or troubles they face. This emotional support becomes a great backbone for them to build resilience and overcome their insecurities or failures. 

Make friends/emotional connections: Encourage your children to make good friends at school and in the neighbourhood. Also, parents should teach their children to become a friend in order to have friends. Becoming a friend means children should develop a helping nature, share things and reach out at the time of need which also means children should develop the qualities of understanding, compassion and kindness towards their friends. Connecting with people, and sharing likes, dislikes, fears provides great social and emotional support and strengthens resilience.

Teach kids self-care: Teach your child the importance of taking care of himself or herself as one of their top priorities. Your children should have enough time to eat, exercise, have fun and rest well. Caring for oneself will help your child to stay balanced, focused and provides immense energy to deal with stressful times at present or in the future.

Positive self-image: Developing confidence in your abilities to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience. Help your children to recall instances when they have encountered hardships in the past successfully. Your kids should be taught to trust themselves no matter what, which will help them eventually to take appropriate decisions. Also, children should be told not to take everything so seriously and to also see the lighter side of life and develop the ability to laugh at one’s self too.

Maintain a hopeful outlook: In case your child is facing trauma following a disappointing experience or loss of a friend, help him/her look at the situation in a broader perspective. You can cite examples from real-life biographies to show them the examples of heroes. You can counsel your children that stress does not help and anxiety will only lead to more problems. An optimistic and positive outlook is required to build resilience to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest of the times.

Self-discovery: Help your children discover their positive traits. You can do this by involving them in a certain activity or a sport. Such as certain games will teach them understand their patience and tolerance levels. Children have to discover themselves, and their emotions which is a great help to build resilience.

Help them manage their emotions: Children should know that emotions are not to be hidden but shown. If your children are angry, it is alright to express anger, if your child is sad it is alright to cry. If your child is happy, they should show it. This way the child will not have any emotions hidden which may lead to unnecessary anxieties, further making it difficult for coping problems.

Identifying their stressors: It’s important that kids learn to identify how they feel and why they feel that way such as upset, and sad or stressed. This is important so they can verbally share their stressors with you or their friends in order to find solutions and overcome them. Stressors could range from anything social, emotional, such as parents demands, peer group pressures, to anything. Parents with the help of counsellors can help their kids to work on solutions to combat stressors.

Accepting change: Many a times, children have to put up with change of residence, place or school. In such instances, parents can convince them that change is a part of life and new goals can replace their previous goals that have become unattainable. Since life moves on and it can never be stagnant, help your kids to appreciate the new experiences which is the best way to accept and invite change.

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