Nurturing resilience in children enables them to emerge from challenging experiences with a positive sense of themselves and their future. Here are some ways you can instil resilience in your young ones.
1. Build resilience through positive relationships
The presence of a supportive parent can lead children through adversity. Research has shown that in the context of a loving relationship with a caring adult, children will gain a greater sense of confidence in their abilities and allow them to approach life more optimistically.
When your children complete a set of homework, you can give significant positive reinforcement by saying, "I like it when you stay focused. Another worksheet set done!" or "Well done! You completed this set all by yourself."
Let your children know that what they are doing matters.
2. Cultivate a sense of competence and mastery
Acknowledge your children's strengths, bravery, and effort when they do something difficult, and encourage them to make their own decisions. Nurture that feeling of competence by reminding them that they can overcome challenges. When they have a sense of mastery, they are less likely to react negatively to stress and more likely to handle future challenges.
"You're a superstar when it comes to trying challenging things. I trust that you've got what it takes. Keep going. You'll get there."
3. Teach them how to reframe
In times of difficulty or disappointment, you can guide your children to reframe challenges by getting them to focus on what they have. Acknowledge their disappointment. Then steer them away from looking at what the problem has cost them. Instead, direct them towards the opportunities the problem might have brought them. For example, an outdoor excursion has been cancelled because of a rainy day.
"I understand how disappointed you are about not going to the Zoo today. I'd be disappointed too. I know you always have great ideas. What can you suggest we do?"
4. Always encourage them
Resilience is not about never falling. It is about getting back up again, and there is no hurry for this to happen. Encourage your children to explore new things. Give them the space to cope with the stumbles along the way. Always let them know that the courage they show in doing something brave and difficult is more important than the outcome.
"I love how brave you are. When you try harder and harder things, they might not always work out, but it means you're getting stronger, smarter, braver, and you'll be closer to getting it next time."