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9 Ways to Foster Resilience in Young Children

9 Ways to Foster Resilience in Young Children

When we say resilience, what does it mean? It is a child’s ability to respond positively to adverse events.

To be honest, young children have so much on their plates. Every day, they are learning new things. Every few months they are expected to cultivate a new habit, display appropriate behaviour, and achieve developmental milestones. Adults would not achieve half of this if we had to do so much. And yet, their sponge-like minds absorb everything to form unique, wonderful personalities.

Having said that, promoting resilience in early years is not easily taught. Many might believe that resilience is an innate personality trait, and some people are just born with it. While that could be true, it is equally true that resilience can be cultivated. Resilience is a mix of cognitive, emotional, and social skills. It helps cope with a multitude of things that life throws. Additionally, it helps building resilience in children with their problem-solving abilities and to maintain positive mental health.

Resilient children are better equipped to deal with failure, manage stressful situations, and adapt to change. It is not a parent’s job to be there all the time for the children. That is not possible. But, it is a parent’s duty to guide their children appropriately, so they are able to manage uncertainty and major adversity by themselves.

How to build resilience in children? Here’s how!

  • Say ‘NO’ Sometimes 

Parents are caregivers and children tend to get attached to their caregivers. They may depend on you to do things that they already are capable of doing themselves. In exceptional cases, you can give in but do NOT make it the norm. For example, your toddler knows how to wear their own shoes, but they want mom to do it just because she is available. Say NO! If he or she can do it themselves, they must try. Overdependence is neither good for caregivers nor the children.

  • Avoid Mollycoddling

We want our little ones to be safe, but there are instances when we need to let them be free to experiment as well. This could involve them getting hurt, crying, and all sorts of things. But imagine a childhood without any of this. For instance, if your child is learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels, don’t just give verbal encouragement. Have the courage to let them ride away. If they fall, offer support and comfort.

  • Strong Family Bonds

Resilience is characteristic of strong personalities. Children develop grit when they have a strong foundation. A loving, emotionally stable environment at home can do wonders to build endurance and adaptability.

  • Ask ‘HOW’ Questions

Children are bound to falter. When something goes wrong don’t ask them ‘why’ as if to say, “Why did you make such a mistake?” Instead ask ‘how’ as in “How did this happen or how do you plan to fix this?” A mere change in your approach can help them view an issue from a different, better lens.

  • Let Them Make Mistakes

It is human to err. We all make mistakes. Often, we are tough on the children when they make mistakes. But unless they mess something up, there would be no opportunity to be resilient, solve the problem, handle emotions, deal with others, and so on. There is much to learn from failure. So let children make their share of mistakes and learn from them.

  • Encourage Healthy Risk-taking

We often associate risk taking to careless or reckless behaviour. But risk-taking is actually brave. Businessmen are advised to take risks if they want breakthroughs at work, aren’t they? So why do we stop our young ones? The only reason is safety. They are yet to understand how to protect themselves while trying something audacious. It is our job to teach them that and then, encourage them to be bold.

  • Storytelling

Haven’t we all read fairy tales and moral stories to our toddlers? This gives them the belief that miracles do happen, and good behaviour will always be rewarded at the end. Similarly, let’s tell them stories about passion and grit. Stories about sports personalities is a fantastic way to start. Their little minds will be so inspired. Give it a shot!

  • Pay Attention to the Tone

When we speak anxiously or in catastrophic terms, the feeling tends to trickle into their young minds. For example, “The teacher is going to be so upset you didn’t finish your homework that she is going to throw you out of class.” Instead of using such end-of-the-world statements, we could try saying, “Your teacher is going to be upset that you didn’t complete your homework. She expects that you will do this well considering how good you are at this subject.”

  • Provide Support

Fostering resilience does not mean we let go of them completely. Not just in childhood but at any age, our children should be able to come to us. It is a big win for parents when children learn to do everything on their own but come back to us just for some love and support. Be ready to provide unconditional support when they do reach out.

How resilient children become has a lot to do with how resilient parents are. Modelling the right behaviour can impact how they approach their lives. Parents have such power to influence a child’s behaviour positively. And Dibber international preschools are keen to support you on this task.

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