Have you ever watched your child’s reaction when he or she gets hurt? One child will probably cry a river and demand for mommy, while another will probably just say “Ouch!” and then move on. How children – and adults – respond to different adversities in life is based on the human trait called resilience.
I hear the word resilience all the time in the sustainable development space, which is my other work and passion, and in most cases, the term has been associated with disasters and the ability of people and communities to “weather the storm.”
What does resilience exactly mean? How can we raise resilient children?
The Children’s Resilience Research Project provides some sensible answers.
When we talk about our child’s resilience, we’re referring to the child’s ability to cope with ups and downs and the challenges they experience during childhood.
Some of these challenges may include moving schools, moving homes, the death of a pet or of a loved one, or preparing for an exam, or living at this time of a global health crisis that has jolted our reality.
Beyond Blue, the Australia-based support organization that carried out the research project, shares that resilience is important for children’s mental health.
It noted that children with greater resilience are better able to manage stress, which is a common response to difficult events. As we know, stress is a risk factor to mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety.
Why do children cope differently with the same challenge?
The research explains that it is because just like any other human trait, several factors determine resilience.
Partly, our resilience is determined by our biological makeup (age and temperament). Resilience is also partly shaped by the community we grew up in (including our family, church, and school community, our friends and other people who may influence our behaviour).
How can we raise resilient children?
Thankfully, parents don’t need to face the challenge of raising resilient kids alone. The research recommends that as adults, we can help build resilience in our children by helping them to:
- Build good relationships with others including adults and peers
- Build their independence
- Learn to identify, express, and manage their emotions
- Build their confidence by letting them take on different challenges
How will Joy School Baguio help you build resilience in your child?
The principle of Joy School is anchored on teaching children joy.
As a developmentally appropriate, internationally acclaimed preschool program which has been used by hundreds of thousands of families worldwide, Joy School presents you and your child with opportunities to make meaningful interactions with caring adults, with peers in a supportive learning community.
In particular, Joy School teaches children the joy of setting and achieving goals and the joy of confidence.
When children are positively affirmed for what they can do, and are helped with tasks they find difficult to accomplish with constructive and patient prodding, they can be propped with resilience to tackle bigger challenges in life.
At home, I observe that my children build emotional resilience when they are involved in chores. But it doesn’t just stop there. When they make mistakes as they go about doing chores, such as when an eggshell drops onto the flour after they crack the eggs, or when they break a cup as they help organize the kitchen drawers, surely they would feel bad or scared.
Instead of harshly scolding them (which as parents we all have the tendency to do), encouraging the kids to find a solution to the mess–in this case, scooping out the eggshell with a spoon, and calling Mom or Dad to help clean up the broken pieces– helps them bounce back, not be too hard on themselves, and build emotional resilience.
With all the uncertainty around us, resilience is a trait that will carry us through. And it all begins with us adults, whom our kids emulate.
Here’s cheering everyone on in building resilience in our kids!