I'd love to protect my girls from adversity, stress, and challenges, but let's face it: Life is hard! Just this week, one of our neighbors announced their divorce, my younger daughter found out she needs braces, and my older daughter almost failed a math test. As parents and caregivers, we can't erase adversity or make stress and challenges disappear, but we can work to teach our kids resilience. It helps kids navigate childhood hardships and prepares them for success as adults.
Allow Kids to Take Risks
I wouldn't let a five-year-old drive a car, but I could let her climb the jungle gym. Appropriate risks encourage kids to make their own decisions, solve problems, test their limits, and become confident.
Teach Kids to Problem-Solve
I love when my kids ask for help, but I'm often tempted to tell them how to fix their challenges. That approach won't help them become resilient. Instead, I want to teach them to brainstorm solutions, analyze each one, and find the solution that works best for each problem they face.
Ask "How" Rather Than "Why"
Please tell me I'm not the only parent who asks "why" questions! "Why didn't you do your homework?" or "Why did you pull your sister's hair?" "Why" questions put our kids on the spot, though. Instead, I'm learning to ask "how" questions. They encourage kids to think through solutions, problem-solve, and become more confident and resilient.
Help Kids Manage Emotions
Our kids may cry, retreat, or act out in anger when they face challenges because stress and adversity create strong emotions. We must teach our children how to acknowledge and manage their emotions when they face challenges so that they can respond in an appropriate manner.
Let Your Kids Make Mistakes
Forgotten homework and a failed test are two examples of mistakes my kids have made, and as an adult, I've made mistakes, too. Give your kids permission to make mistakes, and then show them how to overcome and move on as we help our kids become stronger and more resilient individuals.
Don't Rush to Accommodate Your Child's Needs
As parents and caregivers, we must make sure our kids' needs are met. However, we can give them space to overcome obstacles on their own. If your kids can make their own snacks, pick out their own clothes, and meet other needs on their own, let them.
Teach Healthy Conflict Resolution
Relationships can be a huge source of stress for kids and adults, which makes conflict resolution essential for kids of all ages. Begin early as you teach your kids the healthy way to address and resolve conflicts at home, with friends, and at schools.
Provide Plenty of Downtime
A few years ago, I noticed that my younger daughter had meltdowns every night before bed. I finally figured out that she was tired from running to soccer practice after school each day. I made a commitment to cut down on activities, and that has helped her tremendously. She needs the downtime to regroup and recover so that she's better able to handle daily life.
Model Resilient Behaviors
Our kids learn by watching us, so model the resiliency you want your kids to practice. Take risks, learn to manage your emotions, and admit your mistakes as you show your kids how they can be resilient, too.
Create a Safe Place for Your Child
Home is my safe place, and I often can't wait to come home, take my shoes off, and unwind, relax, and regroup. I want my kids to feel safe at home, too. Create a safe place when you listen without judgment, provide opportunities for your kids to play and be kids, and build strong, trusting relationships.
I wish my kids didn't face adversity, stress, and challenges, but they do, so I use these 10 tips to help them become resilient in childhood. With resilience, they're well on their way to becoming successful adults. What else could help our kids develop this crucial skill?
Find more about the author: Kim Hart