1 in 8 children aged 5 to 19 in England has a diagnosable mental health condition (November 2018).
The prevalence of emotional disorders including anxiety and depression has risen by 48% since 2004.
Today’s families especially our children are under tremendous stress from being
- always on the go
- over scheduled with extra curricular activities
- ever present peer pressure
The need for us to develop resilience in our kids is high.
What is Resilience?
- bouncing back after difficult times
- dealing with challenges and still holding your head up
- giving things a go or trying your best
- being strong on the inside
- being able to cope with what life throws at you and shrugging it off
- standing up for yourself
- getting back into shape after you have been bent or stretched
- All of the above (if you picked this one you would be right!)
Why is Resilience so important?
We have become a culture trying to make sure our kids are comfortable. We as parents are trying to stay one step ahead of everything our kids are going to run into. Unfortunately life doesn’t work this way.
We want our kids to be problem solvers when they face unfamiliar or tough situations and strive to find good solutions. This doesn’t mean that kids have to do everything on their own, rather they know how to ask for help and are able to problem solve their next steps.
Great news, it is never too early or too late to start teaching resilience.
Raising Resilient Kids my Top Tips
Listen; ensure you aren’t simply hearing but truly tuned into what your kids have to say.
Resiliency comes from relationships; children need nurturing relationships and at least one trusted adult that they can confide in.
Spend 10 minutes a day one-on-one with your child, quality over quantity
Lack of good quality sleep is a huge driver for stress; it has a negative effect on memory, concentration, cognitive function and decision-making.
Fastest way to improve sleep is to limit screen time before bed. The blue light submitted by devices suppresses melatonin the hormone that signals it is time for sleep.
Get out and exercise
We all need regular activity as exercise strengthens the brain. Can you do it together? Movement snacking – short bursts through the day?
Teach delayed gratification
Resilience means understanding you can’t always have what you want as soon as you want it. Not easy in an Amazon prime, Netflix driven world.
Great way to teach this is through playing board games! When was the last time you sat down as a family and played a board game? Board games teach impulse control, turn taking and mental flexibility.
Teach them to reframe their day.
- What did someone do today to make you happy?
- What did you do today to make someone else happy?
- What have you learned today?
This teaches gratitude, nurtures optimism and recognises kindness.
Give your kids opportunities for development and mastery and responsibility. This will encourage self-esteem and self worth.
Teach Problem Solving
Show your children ways to deal with problems, providing both role modelling and encouragement.
Laugh it off
Help to see humour in a situation, a powerful tool they can apply in many difficult situations in life.
‘I know it looks bad now, but you will get through this’.
Fostering this sense of optimism gives children a big advantage.
What can you learn from this so it doesn’t happen next time?
Helps children to have more realistic and healthy perspective of a situation. They benefit from a good repertoire of coping solutions to draw from when needed.
Pick ‘one thing’ from my Raising Resilient Kids list to focus on over the next week and see how making a small change can have a big impact in your family. Let me know in the comments what you picked.