Children aren’t born resilient. Seeing challenges, mistakes and changes as a learning experience is an essential part of building a resilient child. The good news is that resilience is a skill that can be learned and strengthened with practice and support.
Here are 3 mindsets that can help you on the journey to building a resilient child.
1. A CHALLENGE IS A CHAPTER OF YOUR LIFE NOT YOUR WHOLE STORY
If a challenge is seen as an opportunity for growth, children are better able to deal with it, bounce back, adapt and learn from it. If it is seen as hopeless, it is easy for them to feel like giving up. Changing perspective changes their internal dialogue about an event or circumstance to a more positive, less emotional viewpoint.
Ask kids to take a challenge they are experiencing and answer the following questions:
What’s something that’s hard for you right now?
What have you learned about yourself from this challenge?
How would you face this challenge the next time?
2. SEEING MISTAKES AS AN OPPORTUNITY
The fear of making a mistake and feeling embarrassed can be a huge deterrent to young people trying something new. What if we taught children to see making a mistake as an opportunity to grow and learn? And that when they feel the awkward emotion of embarrassment – that’s ok – it’s part of the journey.
What if we taught them that ‘the butterflies’ or nervousness they are feeling is a good thing and that it’s natural to feel that way? Perhaps then, they would be excited to try something new instead of fearing ‘what if I make a mistake?’
Ask kids to do the following exercise:
Write about a time you allowed your fear of making a mistake stop you from saying or doing something.
What do you wish you would have said or done?
What did you learn from this experience?
The next time you feel nervous, what could you do? Examples: breathe deeply, repeat ‘it’s ok to feel nervous’, ‘I am brave’…
3. LIFE IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING
Children who understand that life is like a roller coaster, with lots of ups and downs, will be able to bounce back and accept change with more ease. Studies show that viewing change as a challenge that they can tackle instead of a threat, equips young people with the ability to better deal with adversity. It allows them to find creative solutions to new challenges, to face adversity with calmness and confidence and to have a sense of mastery over life circumstances
Ask kids to complete the following exercise:
Write about a time you did something you thought you couldn’t do.
What did you learn about yourself from that experience?
List 3 new things you could try.
Resilient kids become resilient adults, able to not only survive, but thrive in the face of challenges, mistakes & changes.
The support we give our kids today will positively impact their future!
Until next time…
6 May 2020
Teaching Kids to Bounce Back
Children are experiencing a lot of changes during this unprecedented time. They are missing their friends and their extended family. Their routines have been turned upside down. They may be frustrated with staying home and overwhelmed with the conversations around COVID-19.
As a parent, you might wish you could shield them from the challenges they face, but that’s neither possible, nor beneficial for building their resilience. During this time it’s especially important to help them see their challenges as an opportunity to learn, grow and bounce back so they can keep moving forward.
Here are 3 tips to help your child be a ‘Bounce Back’ kid:
1. Explain that everyone is facing changes and challenges. Ask them to write out all the choices they can make from the challenging circumstances they are experiencing. This will change their focus from ‘what happened’ to ‘how can I move through this’
2. Each day they will experience different emotions like anger, disappointment, happiness, frustration, sadness. At times these emotions will feel like they are riding a roller coaster. Knowing that these emotions are normal and experienced by everyone will help them realize they are not alone and that it’s OK to feel a range of emotions.
3. Encourage them to come up with healthy ways to release these emotions (drawing, talking to someone, reading, watching a show, journaling etc). Have them create a list so that they know what to do when these emotions arise. Put the list in a place they can see everyday. It’s also important for you to know their healthy ways to release their emotions so that you can remind them what to do when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Let your children know you are always there for them.
Remind them: They Matter! They are Enough!
Until next time…
1 Apr 2020
My Grandpa’s Secret
My grandpa died a few months ago of natural causes. He was 102… ONE HUNDRED AND TWO.
Isn’t that amazing? I think he had a secret to his longevity.
My grandpa always told me something I thought was very special which I often remind myself of: “If you can’t clown around in the world, you will never get around.”
You could take everything personally, focus on the negative, feel down and discouraged or you could adopt some of my grandpa’s positivity and choose to clown around. Imagine what would happen if you added humour to your days? What if you playedmore? Wouldn’t that be fun? That’s my grandpa’s secret. He chose humour.
I know it’s not always easy…
“But Sara, what if certain things just feel hard?” I hear you.
The truth is … it’s sometimes hard for all of us. My grandpa’s life wasn’t all fun and games. He struggled at times and in more ways than most—I bet it wasn’t easy for him to find humour every day. He was blind by the time he was a teenager and when the other kids learned how to drive, he longed for the day that never came. I saw his struggle first hand when he’d whisper in my ear his simple wish for sight.
When my grandpa was growing up, if you were blind, you were sent to boarding school. It could have felt terrible for him to live away from his friends and family, but he found a loved one there… my grandma. She was also blind.
He tuned pianos for a living because what he lacked in sight he made up for in sound and together, they raised three children with bells on their shoes—a little trick to keep track of their footsteps around the house. Isn’t that fun?!
I think the moral of this story is that with humour, you build resilience. Of course, there will be difficult times, but it’s important to always search for joy, silver linings, and silliness in times that feel hard. I think laughter is healing and humour goes a long way to helping you move through challenging circumstances and tough emotions.
How to add humour to your day
My fondest memories of my grandpa are filled with laughter. Joking together! I want to thank him a thousand times over for his wise words, but all I can do is share them with you.
It’s a childlike quality that we can carry into adulthood. I think of my son sometimes when I need a reminder. When our babies are born, we do everything we can to make them laugh. Now, he laughs at the oddest jokes that he thinks are really funny. It makes me happy to see him so happy and we snowball from there. Don’t you think that’s proof enough of the positive impact humour has on our wellbeing? I sure do!
Here’s a few ways to find your ‘inner clown’ even if you think it’s silly:
Make funny faces in the mirror – sounds weird but it works.
Sing really loud using a funny voice.
Watch a funny movie and laugh until your face feels like it’s
Dance like no one is watching.
Play dress up with your kids or friends.
Laughter and humour will give you the space to cope with a situation with a more relaxed view and help give you a different perspective so you can bounce back with more ease.