One of the greatest attributes any child can have is resiliency. Personal resiliency is about our assets — the resources, attributes and skills that help us recover from negative experiences or emotions, cope with challenges and adversity and look after ourselves when things aren’t going well.
Building children’s resiliency is not some special, extraordinary thing that parents do. It is more about “good enough” everyday parenting and support in four main areas: relationships, emotional skills, competence and optimism. Here’s how you can help build your child’s resiliency assets in each area.
• Eat meals together as often as you can.
• Schedule special time with individual children to do things you enjoy together.
• Show interest in your child’s interests.
• Be ready to listen when children are ready to talk.
• If your relationship becomes strained by conflict, keep looking for opportunities to reconnect in positive ways. Never give up!
• Accept and respect children’s feelings. Help them express their emotions and try not to make them feel bad for feeling bad.
• Be sympathetic and comforting.
• Share positive emotions with your children.
• Teach the language of emotion. Use words to describe their feelings and your own.
• Help your kids understand their feelings and other people’s feelings.
• Manage your emotions as best you can. Your modelling is the most powerful teacher.
• Give children time for unstructured play. It helps them learn decision-making, problem-solving and confidence in their own ideas.
• Encourage and support children’s interests. These interests develop skills and knowledge that help children feel like competent people.
• Use positive discipline that helps children understand the impacts of their actions and behaviour.
• Let them help you with household tasks like simple repairs, painting, window-washing and gardening. This helps them build life skills that boost their sense of competence.
• Gently (but kindly and realistically) challenge children’s negative thoughts.
• Show children alternative, more positive (but still realistic) ways of looking at negative situations.
• Model realistic optimism and positive thinking.
• Encourage respectful assertiveness and negotiation.
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