Children are diverse and have their own coping mechanisms. Some are great under any given circumstances, yet some face challenges when encountered with adverse events like difficult family situations, loss of people in their lives and physical and mental disabilities.
Resilient kids are those who aren't afraid of falling short of meeting expectations and often are seen taking healthy risks. Their curious, courageous and trusting nature pushes them to step out of their comfort zone and test their own limits which they perceive as challenges. These children are independent as they problem solve themselves and achieve their own goals.
As adults we don't ponder much on what a child may find or categorise as challenging. These situations can range from starting at a new school, relocating homes or even welcoming a new family member. There are more grave situations like bullying, falling out of a family, illness and/or even a death in the family or of a dear one.
It is important that today's children are raised appropriately to be resilient and future fit to make their mark in our ever-evolving world. Here are some pointers for parents, educators and influencers to help raise them to be resilient.
Children thrive the most when they feel unconditional love, support and undivided attention. These can be derived from parents, teachers and other family members and friends. Children develop coping mechanisms within the boundaries of these relationships and therefore it is imperative to give them this time, so they feel empowered to seek guidance and attempt on their own accord to seek solutions in challenging situations.
Self-compassion is being kind and accepting of oneself even through the most challenging circumstances. It is about being aware of one's own feelings and empathising with ourselves as we would do with those dear to us. Self-compassion prepares and enables a child to deal with disappointment, shortfalls and/or errors by being true to our feelings and being kind to ourselves.
There is a fine line between supporting and disabling your child. The goal is to be supportive and not to run to their aid for every minor situation. Instead of finding a solution to their problems try asking them about how they feel in that situation, assist them in finding opportunities in the face of challenges. Problems can be faced with a positive approach and a 'can-do' attitude.
The best approach to impart resilience is to model it. This can be attained by using coping and calming learning strategies. We often encounter stressful situations; effective deep breathing can be a way to work through it. Emotions must be labelled and the process of problem solving must be discussed through healthy conversation.
Mental fitness is as important as physical fitness. Being outdoors helps strengthen the brain and make it more adaptable to stress and adversity. Team sports are often seen as the most appropriate outdoor activity contributing to the overall growth of a child. However, there are children who don't thrive under these circumstances. Free play in the form bicycling, playing tag or even just walk around the park are all great ways for children to build resilience.
At Dolphin POD we assist our children in navigating obstacles they encounter. Stress is unavoidable, being resilient is one of the best ways to cope with it.