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How to help your child build resilience

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  • Category Advice Column, Child, Health, Lifestyle, Parenting, Toddler, Tween & Teen, Tween & Teen Advice

Athletes are familiar with the challenges that come with having to run a tough race. Racing hearts, excessive sweating and having trouble breathing are just some of the effects of exerting their bodies in this way. Cindy Glass, Owners and Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centre says, “Being physically strong and fit will ensure that these symptoms slow down and disappear quite naturally and the athlete is able to bounce back comfortably to face more challenges in the sport. Non-athletes or those who are not particularly fit, however, will find that the changes in the physical body during exercise extremely difficult to recover from.  You see, they have not yet developed the resilience needed to bounce back and recover effectively.”

In a similar way, our children face many challenges and obstacles as they grow and are faced with what life has to offer. She adds, “Children who have been taught the skill of resilience, are able to bounce back from stress, challenges, tragedy, trauma and adversity in more effective ways than children who do not know how to be resilient. Resilient children are more adaptable, have greater courage and are more curious when facing the world around them.”

Cindy offers 6 helpful tips to build your child’s resilience:

  1. Your children will always imitate your behaviours: How resilient are you? How do you handle stress, anxiety, disappointment and failure? Are you able to look at life’s challenges as learning opportunities and seek to find effective solutions or do you tend to become a victim without the power to rise again? Seek to build your own capacity of resilience; your children are watching and learning from you.
  2. Teach your children that it is okay to fall, fail, feel hurt or disappointed: It is also okay to ask for help. Let them know that you have experienced many of these emotions and that you are there to support and encourage them as they navigate their way forward.
  3. Acknowledge and own the tough-stuff: Non-judgmental communication is key to building trust and self-esteem. Assist your children in breaking challenges into bite-size manageable pieces. You may even be able to offer a different perspective to the problem. Don’t hide from the pain; own it and seek to rise above it again.
  4. Allow your children to find their own solutions to some problems: With your support and encouragement, you will be surprised at how children have the capacity to figure it out! This builds confidence and self-worth which is essential to developing resilience.
  5. Let your children trust themselves: They can and must, solve problems and get back on to their feet again! Teach them to face the problem and to seek to find an effective way to navigate it.
  6. Exercise and healthy eating are essential: Doing this will build healthy bodies and minds which, in turn, creates a sense of confidence and determination to show resilience in the face of obstacles.

“Just as you need to be running fit to bounce back from a tough race, so too do you need to be resilient-fit to rise effectively from stress, anxiety, trauma, disappointment and hurt. Life can be tough. Resilient children are just tougher!” concludes Cindy.

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