A number of people in our workshops have been asking us this question. It’s a great question. Helping our children learn and practice resilience skills is a proactive way we can protect them from tough experiences they will encounter, and the skills will enable them to flourish and thrive as they grow – something we all want for all children.
Here are some practical ideas to try out:
- Share stories of resilience; these can be real life stories, or fiction. Discuss the ideas and skills in these stories with your child – encourage them to identify how they can put these ideas into practice with anything that is challenging for them. For example – I wonder if we can remember this story next time your football team loses a game?
- Encourage your child to experiment and make mistakes, help them give things a go that are outside their comfort zone. Use language like “let’s try and see what happens”?
- Model this yourself – talk about your own mistakes and what you have learnt. Try new things and things that are challenging. Better still have a go at something that’s hard for you with your child. You could climb rocks together, or learn a language together, or make something. You are demonstrating important skills such as optimism, perseverance and celebrating successes.
- Support your child’s friendships and other important social connections. Relationships are one of our most powerful resilience tools. Make time to help your child foster strong relationships.
- Teach your child recovery strategies. Set up and maintain good routines around sleeping well, eating well, being physically active and simple down time. An important part of these routines is time away from technology. You are helping your child learn the value of disconnect time and time to “be”.
For more ideas we highly recommend the book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough.