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Strategies for Developing Resiliency in Our Children

Imagine Solutions with Urban Youth Initiative inc.
2 February, 2024

All kids can build resilience to deal with life’s struggles, but it must be taught through their parents, caregivers, or lived experiences. Resilient children are more likely to take healthy risks, trust their instincts, and push themselves to step out of their comfort zone to try something new. Below are some ways you can instill resiliency in your children.

The Effects of Not Developing Resiliency at a Young Age

Children who do not learn resiliency are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and helplessness when faced with difficulties. They may tend to dwell on problems and give up easily when situations don’t go their way. Over time, this can negatively impact their relationships and mental health and lead them to dangerous and destructive behaviors. Substance abuse in children can often be traced back to a lack of resiliency learned earlier in life.

Connect Them with Their Peers

Caregivers should encourage kids to develop friendships with peers to have a support system to turn to during tough times. Children who can connect socially have an easier time handling stress and adversity. To promote connectedness, you can set up play dates, help your child join a club, and involve them in other group activities.

Develop a Daily Routine

Children who follow a predictable routine typically develop a sense of safety and stability. Your daily routine can include eating dinner at the table as a family, reading before bedtime, and having a regular sleep schedule. Routines can also teach time management and self-discipline.

Teach Self-Care

Self-care is another important habit to teach early in life. It can include eating well, getting enough exercise, taking breaks, and resting, and participating in enjoyable hobbies. You can also teach your child to practice positive self-talk to boost self-esteem. These skills become invaluable as kid’s become adults and need to manage life’s stressors.

Avoid Solving Minor Problems for Them

Kids will almost always come to their parents to solve problems for them unless they’re taught otherwise. Although there’s nothing wrong with explaining problems and how to fix them in some cases, minor issues can be solved by the child, which builds resilience and self-efficacy. Instead of lecturing, you can ask questions to help them think through the problem and come up with a solution. These small successes can instill confidence that they can tackle bigger challenges down the road.

Demonstrate Coping Skills

Learning positive coping mechanisms is one of the most important skills for resilience. Teach your child to identify their feelings and vocalize them. You can also model self-soothing techniques such as exercise, journaling, or mindfulness meditation. Without knowing healthy coping techniques, kids may develop negative habits such as avoidance or aggression when things don’t work out as planned.

Promote Optimism

A positive outlook on life helps children be more resilient. Focusing on the good things and expressing gratitude and praise over results will show that perseverance is worth it. Maintaining a hopeful attitude during hard times will rub off on your kids and turn them into optimistic adults.

Model Resiliency

Showing resilience as a parent sets the best example for your child. Verbalize your problem-solving thought process and coping strategies and share stories about times you have overcome obstacles in your life. Showing kids how to be flexible and healthily cope with stress will be one of the most important lessons they will learn.

Providing the right support and tools early on is the key to developing resilience in children. Learning how to manage life’s challenges is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child.

Author Bio

Kent Reason is an editor and content specialist with Ark Behavioral Health, a substance use treatment provider with locations in Massachusetts and Ohio. Ark offers an array of services for addiction and mental health, including multiple levels of care and evidence-based treatment options.