3 Tips For More Resilient Children
You love your kids and want what’s best for them—which naturally leaves you wanting to protect them from all the hard things you had to deal with when you were young. Unfortunately, we can’t fight all of the battles for our kids, and it turns out we shouldn’t.
Rather than raising kids who never run into any problems, what we really want to do is raise resilient kids who can problem-solve their way out of stressful situations. So…how do we do that? These three tips are a good place to start.
1. Encourage healthy risk-taking
Yep, you read that right. The urge to “helicopter parent” can be strong, but we need our kids to experience a little stress so they know how to work through stressful situations in the future. Promote healthy risk-taking in their day-to-day lives. What’s a healthy risk? Something that pushes them out of their comfort zone but results in very little harm if unsuccessful. Things like trying a new sport or auditioning for the school play are great examples of healthy risk-taking. Knowing you’re there, supporting them no matter what will give them that extra shot of confidence they need to try something new. Then the satisfaction that comes from that new activity or experience will help build that resilience muscle for the next time.
2. Help your kids help others
Helping others can empower your children. This could mean signing your kids up for age-appropriate volunteering, brainstorming ways your kids can help their peers at school, going through their things and donating them, or you more routinely asking for help at home. Oftentimes it’s easier to complete tasks on your own (kids DO slow things down), but including them is important to helping them become more resilient. And if you’re working through a big problem, why not ask them to help brainstorm ideas on how to work through it? You might be surprised at how creative they can be!
3. Show them how it’s done
The best way to teach kids resiliency might be the toughest one of all – we have to show them how we deal with stress in a calm, productive way. We must practice resiliency to show them resiliency. Nobody’s perfect, and parenting is so tough—so when you inevitably make a mistake, give yourself some grace—but make sure you admit your mistake to your kids. You might say, “I’m sorry I handled that poorly. Let’s talk about how I can do better next time.” This shows our children it’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to say sorry, it’s ok to forgive, and it’s ok to start over.