Teaching Your Child Resilience

2015-01-30-19.01.19-1024x768What do you say when your child says, This is too hard?

Part of growing is learning how to rise to a challenge, overcoming adversity at times, to get something done or learn something new. How do we as parents and educators help children learn to be resilient? How do we interact with them and support them when they are about to give up on something?

Here are a few tips that could help:

  • Remind your child of past successes: Take some time to talk with your child about how they have already learned how to do something that was once hard. Whether it was tying shoes, riding a two-wheeler, or beginning to read, everyone can point to something that they had to work at in their lives.
  • Celebrate effort, not just wins: It’s easy to offer praise for a successful outcome – but what about when things don’t work out, or there is no ‘win’ to applaud? Make sure you offer words of praise for your child’s hard work and willingness to try new things. Let them know that you understand you sometimes have to try and try again before you experience that success.
  • Encourage your child to think about taking care of themselves: Everyone needs to learn when it’s time to take a break. Suggest a snack or a play break. Of course it is important to stick with tasks, even when they are difficult, but it is also a skill to learn how to break down a big goal into smaller steps and practice self-care. Coming back to a project renewed can help make even difficult things seem easier.
  • Help your child come up with a plan: Many tasks can seem overwhelming. Showing a child how a large task can be broken down into smaller, doable parts not only teaches them how to be effective, but it also supports growing executive function skills.