Children are capable of working through challenges and coping with stress. Emotional resilience is the ability to bounce back from stress, adversity, failure, challenges, or even trauma. Emotionally resilient kids are more likely to take healthy risks because they don’t fear falling short of expectations. They are curious, brave, and trusting of their instincts. They know their limits and they push themselves to step outside of their comfort zones. This helps them reach for their long-term goals and it helps them solve problems independently.
When children are resilient, they are braver, more curious, more adaptable, and more able to extend their reach into the world. The great news is that resilience is something that can be nurtured in all children. It’s not something that kids either have or don’t have. It’s a skill that kids develop as they grow.
As a parent or guardian, how can you help build emotional resilience in your kids? Here are 7 helpful tips:
Spend quality time with the kids.
When children feel loved and supported, they develop emotional strength. Spend ample time with them, ask them how their day went, what they love. Play with them, engage in their stories.
Communicate with their feelings.
Talk about feelings so your child learns to share their worries and fears with people they trust. Teach them to be open to you so when trouble arises, they will know how to approach you. They won’t be scared communicating with you.
Give them time.
Instead of rushing to solve problems, give kids time to work things out themselves. They might be kids, but they are not “just” kids. They are growing humans and their hearts and minds develop day after day. Give them time to resolve things on their own and learn to wait for their signal. Be patient.
Acknowledge and appreciate.
When children experience failure or disappointment, it’s important to praise their effort and encourage them to try again. Appreciate both their little and big contributions.
Know your wrongs.
As a parent and the “more knowing” adult, you have to learn to acknowledge your own mistakes and shortcomings. Accept that you are not right all the time. Acknowledge your own mistakes to teach kids that mistakes are essential for learning and growth.
Be gentle and kind in word and deed.
If your child can’t find a solution to a problem, use gentle questioning to guide them towards it. Avoid using “foul” words or phrases that may hurt them. As an adult and parent, you should know better. Be gentle and kind with your children because that is how they follow you.
Nourish your children.
Ensure your kids are eating well and getting enough sleep and exercise. Nourished and healthy kids are happy, energetic and cheerful.
Promote the bright side.
Optimism and emotional resilience go together. Some kids may appear more naturally optimistic than others, but optimism can be nurtured. If you have an inferior child, acknowledge the feelings that lead to pessimistic thinking and teach your child to reframe his thoughts to find the good in it.
Embody emotional resiliency.
Now here’s the most important thing: the best way to teach resilience is to embody it yourself. We all encounter stressful situations. Use coping and calming strategies in handling situations. Practice mindfulness and having breathing exercises with your little ones. Deep breathing can be an effective way to work through stress. Always label your emotions and talk through your problem-solving process.
Emotional resilience helps kids navigate the challenges they encounter as they grow. Stress is inevitable, but being resilient is one of the best ways to cope with it. Molding little humans into healthy, thriving big ones isn’t about clearing adversity out of their way. A little bit of stress won’t hurt them. In fact, those can be life-giving and helps them to develop the skills they need to flourish in life.
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