Resilience is the ability to “bounce back” despite hardship.
We have all been through some degree of hardship these last few years. Not only have our “regular” lives continued on with all their related stressors, they’ve been accompanied by the discordant soundtrack of a pandemic.
How can you nurture your child’s resilience?
There are decades of really good studies about resilience. These studies have looked at children’s development over very long periods of time, and in extremely adverse conditions (like living in war-torn countries). The great news is that you are most likely already doing more than you realize to support your child’s ability to thrive despite difficult times.
Acknowledge Your Own Resilience
You have been through years of difficulty and here you are, reading a parenting newsletter, working to support your family. You are facing hardship in a positive way!
What makes us resilient: a combination of protective experiences and coping skills.
The single most important resilience factor for a child: a stable, committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver or other adult.
Parents often worry about “socializing” their infant or young toddler when deciding on a first daycare experience. The more important factor to reflect on is–will the daycare provider adore my fabulous child? For young children, these adult relationships are paramount to their ability to handle life, much more so than “playing” with other babies or young toddlers.
Other important resiliency traits that parents/caregivers can build:
Self-efficacy (believing you can do things successfully).
Praise your child when they complete a task, show persistence, and demonstrate self help skills. When your child has a setback completing a task or project, teach them that it’s important to walk away, take a break, and try again. You can help them set realistic goals. I like this article for more information: https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=1964&language=English
Perceived control (a child’s belief they have control over the events that influence their life).
When we allow children to make decisions and be part of the decision making process, their sense of control increases. There are certain instances in which parents need to have a “hard and fast no”response to a child’s demands/requests-and there are instances in which parents can be flexible. Offering choices is an early step towards making decisions.
Adaptive skills and the ability to self regulate (skills that allow children to be age-appropriately independent.)
Examples of these skills include a child’s ability to: feed themselves with a spoon, ask for help when needed, dress themselves, calm down independently after activities, etc. Children develop these skills by observing their parents and siblings, and having opportunities to practice in a supportive environment.
Having a foundation of hope and traditions (cultural, societal, religious for example)
Your family can build on existing traditions or create your own.
Each one of these resilience factors are things you can nurture–but you don’t have to do it alone.
You deserve support and our Parent Coaches are here for you!
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