Children, despite being in their “carefree” stage of life, do go through plenty of hurts, struggles, and challenges. The current state of affairs in SA- which is struggling a pandemic and civil unrest simultaneously- is extremely unsettling for our kiddos- so let’s look at how to build resilience.
Resilience is the ability to adapt well to adversity. Resilience does of course not take away the underlying emotional pain or sadness after a major stress or loss, but it helps us to cope.
How can we help build up resilience?
- Encourage your children to build up a network: encourage them to connect with family and peers- even through video-chats. Feeling part of a team helps give purpose and place.
- Encourage your children to help others- this can be empowering.
- Challenge unrealistic thinking in children by asking about the ”worst case scenario” which they fear, and then discussing it step by step. This gives them a plan.
- Teach your children to have reasonable goals and help them to move in small achievable steps towards that goal. Having goals helps them to maintain structure when there are setbacks.
- Teach your children self-care including healthy eating, exercise and sleep. Without a healthy body, the mind and emotions cannot function optimally.
- Maintain consistency with routines- structure gives certainty- building in some unstructured time to allow children to be creative and develop their imaginations.
- Try and promote a positive self-view. Emphasize how much their contribution counts on so many levels.
- Help them to learn to problem solve and make their own decisions.
- Teach them about self-discovery during setbacks: Tough times are often when children (and adults) learn most about themselves. Help your child to see how tough and brave they really are.
- Give them a hopeful outlook: help them to see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good.