Teaching Resilience to Elementary Age Children
Character traits such as patience, kindness, gentleness, perseverance, and respect should be developing and children should be encouraged to demonstrate these traits.
- Take advantage of opportunities that will encourage patience (without resorting to ‘entertainment devices’). “Let’s play a quiet game or see if we can sit quietly while we wait for our food.”
- Talk about the benefits of delayed gratification. (ex) “If you save your allowance for the next two weeks, you will have enough money to buy the toy you want.”
- Talk about the benefits of making good decisions. “If we eat protein for breakfast, you will have more energy at school during the day.”
- Demonstrate that you make mistakes and can find ways to correct / modify them. “Oops, I put too much milk in the pancake batter. I’ll need to add a little more flour.”
- Talk about difficulties you have overcome. “It was so hard for me to learn how to ride a two-wheel bike. I had to practice for many weeks, but it sure felt good when I rode all by myself.”
- Think of a phrase that everyone in your family can use when facing a challenge. “Our challenges make us stronger.” “This will help me grow.”
- When your child has failed at something, consider this a great opportunity to teach the importance of persistence, handling frustration, problem solving, trying again. “Trial and error” is an important part of learning resilience / perseverance.
- Don’t forget that every child learns responsibility, a sense of belonging, and new skills when he / she has daily and weekly chores to accomplish.
- Do not do your child’s homework! You are responsible for making sure your child has the necessary supplies and a place to study, as well as assuring your child’s schedule prioritizes homework. Your child should be doing all the work – and carrying his own backpack to school! (Parents in California have been seen walking their children to school while carrying their children’s backpacks!)
- Help your child keep commitments – attending sports practice, for example, even if it means missing another more desirable event.
- Encourage your child to solve small problems, and encourage family discussions about how to solve family disagreements / problems. “Who has an idea about how we can earn enough money to go camping?”