Hoping everyone has settled back into school life calmly and coping with our new routines and structures. This has been a learning curve for all of us, teachers, students and parents alike, and it has been great to see how the students have adapted so well, especially with our morning routine.
Below are some tips to help build resilience in your children, especially during times of adversity.
Building children’s resilience: Ideas for families
Parents can build children’s resilience by providing opportunities for children to develop the skills, habits and attitudes that help build resilience.
• coping skills
• Positive thinking
What families can do for children dealing with adversity
• Let children experience their emotions – acknowledge how they feel, help them put words to feelings.
• Take time to listen attentively when children speak about what worries them.
• When children experience a difficult situation, ask them how they would like you to support them.
• Help children develop strategies to deal with difficult situations and encourage them to come up with their own solutions.
• It can be helpful to encourage children to experience failure rather than protect them from it. When they do fail at something, help them put the failure into perspective.
• Suggest more helpful self-talk if your child is talking negatively – for example, if your child says, “I’m going to die of embarrassment speaking in front of my class”, help them reframe it to something like, “Public speaking isn’t my favourite thing, but I’ll be able to cope”.
Other ways families can promote resilience -Role model
• Try to role model healthy thinking when facing challenges of your own. You can do this by thanking other people for their support, and saying, “Things will get better soon and I can cope with this”. This shows that you expect that good things are possible
• Model calm and rational problem solving with the other adults in your life. This teaches children what problem-solving looks like. It also teaches them that problems and issues can be worked through in a calm and rational way. Talk about it
• Your child is more likely to feel positive if he or she can see that difficult times are a part of life, that they will pass, and that things will get better. You might be able to help your child with this by talking about how you, people you know, or even famous people have gone through difficult times.
• Use role-plays and have discussions to practice how to handle difficult situations
. • Have positive conversations with each other, for example: “What’s the best thing that happened today?” or “What was something that did not go well today?”
Have a go
• Encourage a ‘have a go’ attitude by listening and validating children’s concerns while encouraging problem solving and help seeking when necessary
. • Allow for age-appropriate risk-taking and experimentation by children. Keep things on track
• Set up and stick to family routines. These can relate to eating, sleeping, family activities and rituals. Routines help things flow more smoothly, for example having a clear routine for each morning before school.
• Encourage healthy exercise and activities.
• Do things as a family that you enjoy, for example taking walks or watching your favourite movies together.
• Help children connect to the people and history in their families. Tell stories from the past about family members or go over some good memories by looking through photographs.
• Encourage children to connect to community through simple things like participating in community events, working bees etc.