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Building Resilience: How to Help Kids Overcome Life’s Challenges

Childhood is often viewed as a carefree time absent of any real worries, woes, or responsibilities. It’s idealized as the perfect time for play, making friends, creating lifelong memories to look back on, and just simply having fun.

That period of youth, however, is no exception to problems and challenges one can face. This may include new school adjustments, online learning, bullying (either in person or via social media), struggles at home, or abuse/trauma.

Facing challenges and thriving after they occur takes a certain level of resilience. Thankfully, those are skills that kids can learn. Here’s how you can help foster resilience in your kid.

Create a Positive Parent-Child Relationship

kid and parent on a treeKids look to their parents for guidance and modeling, whether they’re openly asking for it or not. They’re very perceptive and impressionable. One of the foundational steps in building resilience is to create a positive relationship with your kid.

Establishing a relationship based on support and trust can influence children’s self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. When children feel positive emotions and are valued by their superiors, they will develop more confidence in their ability to tackle challenges and adversity.

Providing a positive example will help build a healthy attachment style, which will affect them into adulthood and beyond. Take interest in their hobbies, play games with them, maintain quality time, and have frequent discussions about their goals.

Promote a Growth Mindset

No matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to shield them from difficulties that will undoubtedly arise. Rather than try to avoid difficulty, teach your kid how challenges can be an opportunity for growth.

Help promote a growth mindset by teaching them never to give up. Encourage them to find the positive in any situation and take away a lesson each time. They’ll be stronger for it if they learn to approach situations as an opportunity rather than winning or losing.

Teach Them How to Problem Solve

Kids aren’t born knowing how to problem-solve. They learn this skill as they develop, from prior situations or from adult figures around them. With the right guidance, they can develop more effective problem-solving skills.

It’s important to teach them how to break situations down into something more manageable and tackle them piece by piece to be more successful. Help them brainstorm ideas, but be more of their sounding board initially. When they can get through this portion “on their own,” they will feel more confident when the time comes to do it by themselves.

During your teachings, make sure you stress to them that making mistakes is perfectly acceptable and further promotes that learning opportunity.

Teach Self-Regulation

Challenges can bring out the emotional side of anyone going through them. For kids, you’ve probably seen temper tantrums, emotional outbursts, or very reactionary behavior. Part of that is because they don’t have emotional regulation perfected yet.

An important lesson to teach them is how to regulate their own emotions and control their behavior. With that, you should help them understand what their emotions are and also teach them how to express themselves effectively.

Encourage Physical Activity

When life gets stressful, movement is always a good option. Encourage your kid to get in physical activity if they’re feeling overwhelmed or if you notice their stress level is high.

Exercise and activity are a great way to improve overall well-being, improve mental health, enjoy something that makes them happy, distract from the negative parts of a challenge, and share time with peers.

Building resilience in your child will help them throughout childhood and into adulthood. It teaches skills that will always come in handy. Using the right strategies, you can help them thrive. Contact us to schedule a session for family therapy if you need guidance during this process.