Tips to Build Resilience in Kids


Stress is an emotion, that we think only adults experience. We often wonder, why would a child be stressed? Isn’t childhood a phase where there is no stress or worry? However, we are mistaken. A child might be going through a negative change in life which causes him/her to feel stress. High amount of stress can affect child development. There are multiple reasons of stress in children - juggling between schoolwork and sports, bullying in school, peer group pressures, feeling insecure at home or school, moving from one city/country or parents going through a divorce. 

Unresolved stress could lead to certain noticeable changes in the child. Some of the signs of stress include loss of appetite, nightmares, bed wetting, sleep disturbances, crying, whining and new fears.

As parents, we play a major role in help them build resilience. One of the most effective way a parent can help build resilience in children, is first being resilient ourselves.  Maintaining a calm demeanour in stressful situation in front of the child always helps him pick up this act.

Here are a few strategies we can adapt to build resilience in children:

  • Developing independence: Allowing children to solve difficult situation independently. If the child is facing a situation in school, the parent can first sit down and talk the child and let him come up with probable solutions. It is recommended to try to do this, instead of parents going to school to complain. Only if a child faces discomfort, will he be able to develop coping skills.
  • One on one conversations:  A parent must ensure to spend time with the child, develop a one on one relationship. This relationship makes them feel empowered at times of stress.
  • Undertake risk: We often worry about exposing child to any risk. However, regulated risk is a must. A sport is a good example. A little injury while playing the sport helps them build resilience.
  • Experience all emotions: Parents should allow children to experience emotions like fear, anxiousness and sadness etc. Just as happiness tends to give a child a good state of mind so do the other emotions. 
  • Encourage a growth mindset: Inculcate a growth mindset in the child. This can be achieved by embracing mistakes. It is okay to make mistakes and to learn from them. 
  • Facing Disappointments: As parents we need to allow children to face disappointments and instead of asking “Why” the disappointment they should focus on “how” to solve it.
  • Discussing with peer groups: The child should be able to discuss his/her concerns with peer groups in case of facing a stress related to them. This also, helps to build their confidence.

References

Goldstein, S., & Brooks, R. B. (n.d.). Handbook of Resilience in Children. Plenum publisher.

Medline Plus. (2019, January). Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002059.htm 

About the Author:

Vineeta Thomas has extensive experience in the education section. She has worked in the spaces of community development and action research. Child development and the effect of parenting on the same is an area of interest. She writes basis her real life experience having interacted with students and parents cutting across age groups. Vineeta is based in Chennai and is a hands on Mamma