How To Help Build Resilience in Your Kids
Updated: Jul 22, 2020
How quick do your kiddos bounce back after a set back? Do they struggle to feel a sense of self -worth and purpose, or do they get down on themselves and need a lot of support or coaxing to get out of that “hole”?
Being resilient is a very important life skill. Regardless of your stage of life, resilience is going to be needed. Sometimes, we just need a little help!
Here is a quick "tips" list to help build resilience in your kids (and maybe a good reminder for you too, momma).
On a scale of 1-10 how well do you communicate with your kids? Like, I mean REALLY communicate? In our world, we are often rushing to do something, or multi-tasking like crazy to get that mental to-do list completed and are not effectively communicating with our littles. Be sure to take the time to talk to them like they are real people. Don’t sugar coat the hard stuff. Don’t shield them from everything. Take the time to be at their level, eye to eye. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that kids are not complex thinkers. I’m not telling you to speak to them like you would a fellow adult. But, don’t dumb down the message. Kids are smart. They will feed off your energy and know whether you are bullsh*tting them or being honest. So, why not be honest from the start and involve them in the conversation to help them understand all these big emotions when they arise and build their resilience?! Modelling your own communication and feelings when you are needing some resilience will help them learn to regulate and persevere when they feel it.
I don’t know about you, but I can be a real crappy listener for my kids. I hear them, but sometimes don’t truly listen to their message. I sometimes get frustrated when they show big emotions. Instead of always getting to the root of those emotions, I often try to co-regulate and just help them feel the emotion and move through it. My friends, take the time to get to the root of the emotions. Trust me, it’s worth the wait and listening ear. The more our kids feel comfortable to approach us when they are little to ask for help to work through those big emotions and understand why they are feeling them, the more apt they will be to come to us with their “big” problems as they get older. We will have built the trust with them to ensure they understand that momma has a good listening, and non-judgemental ear. (Please keep that second word in mind. It’s important to be able to listen to our kids and not judge them. After all, couldn’t we all use a little less judgement for our choices sometimes?!)
Just as it’s important for you to have a tribe to navigate motherhood, it’s important for your kids to have a tribe who they know is their safe place. Having close friends or family, outside of your immediate family, that your kids can connect with, will help them build their resilience to what life throws their way. They will know, without question, that they are loved and supported by a team of people. As humans, we are wired for connection. Help your kids build healthy boundaries and trust safely so as they grow, they know not only who they can turn to, but also how to form those connections later in life.
Sometimes, we need to be reminded of what we are good at in order to build resilience. When things feel overwhelming we lose sight of what we can tap into to support us to get through it. Kids, in my experience, have a hard time identifying what they are good at. Kids are always busy trying to learn everything, and sometimes all at once. This can sometimes make them feel like a “jack of all trades and a master of none”. When they are struggling, remind them of what their strengths are. Take some time, on a regular basis, to have a conversation with your child and talk about what he/she does well. Get their input and bank that in your memory and when you find they are struggling, remind them of that conversation. Often, we just need a reminder that even though we aren’t good at everything, we are VERY good at something. That is generally enough to be able to persevere and find that light at the end of the struggle.
Being a Kid is Hard Work!
Your kid doesn’t come with a manual. It takes a lot of tries, a lot of effort and a lot of love to get through some days. Be sure you are taking time to connect with those littles. Just remember, a prefrontal cortex (the area where we can regulate our emotions) is not fully formed until the age of 25. TWENTY FIVE ya’ll. We cannot expect those littles to be at the top of their game without support from us! It takes practice, and failure, to build resilience. Sometimes, we all just need a reset and good reminder!