You want your kids to become strong, successful adults? Make sure that you follow these tips on how to raise resilient kids!
What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversity and not be crushed by difficulties. People who get through tough times with a strong spirit are considered resilient.
Why should we help our kids be resilient?
Everyone has to face struggles and difficulties in their lives. No one is immune. As parents, we want to raise kids who are successful and part of success means that we keep going no matter how hard. We keep getting up day after day.
When I first became a single mom, I felt a whole, enormous range of emotions and there honestly were some days that I felt nearly crushed – by fear, anxiety, even failure. Each day I continue to decide to keep going.
I have 2 daughters under the age of 5 and I know that the most important things I can do for them are to:
- Model what I want them to do and be.
- Build a strong, loving connection with them daily.
These 2 things will go a long way in helping them grow up to be strong, confident adults. In the midst of my own adversity, I want them to see me keep going and keep loving them.
Remember that your kids are always watching everything you do. YOU need to be resilient and model confidence, but there are specific things you can also do to help your kids grow up to be resilient adults. Here’s how to raise resilient kids:
1. Have One-On-One Time with Them Every Day.
One-to-one time with each of your children fosters a loving, special connection. Think about your closest relationships – the more meaningful time you spend with someone then the more your relationship grows.
As a single mom, I have my girls a majority of the time and I feel maxed out a lot, but I try to spend very specific time with each child every day. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Five to ten minutes a day with each of my girls. One way to do this is by deliberately slowing down and taking in the small moments:
- walking to the car holding hands and looking at the flowers
- Taking time to read a favorite book
- Singing a fun song while I serve breakfast
- listening to a complicated explanation by my 4-year-old (and paying attention!)
- sitting together and drinking cocoa in the morning for a few minutes
- letting them “help” me cook
2. Let Them Make Choices
Empower your children by letting them make choices. When kids are very small, it’s important to limit their choices (between 2 or 3 selections, for example) to avoid overwhelming them (hey, even I am overwhelmed when I have to choose from a large number sometimes!). This helps give them confidence in their ability to choose and be responsible.
3. Be Positive
When praising your kids, avoid generic praises based on the quality of their work (things like “Good job”, “That was awesome”). Instead, focus on praising their effort and perseverance.
Praising the quality of their work can lead them to look at what they accomplish as a measure of success.
When you focus on effort and perseverance, you encourage them to see that they can do something and learn, even through failure.
The other day my 2.5-year-old was doing something and getting frustrated and said: “I can’t do it!” My 4.5 year old heard and said to her “Mama says you should say ‘I can do it'”.
I’ve also noticed my 4.5-year-old whispering “I can do it” to herself when she’s trying to do something hard. She also knows that if she gets stuck she can come and ask me for help.
4. Let Them Fail
As a mom, this is really hard for me, but I have to remember that there will be numerous times my girls will fail in life and part of building resilience is getting up again.
Don’t always rescue your kids. Gently help them persevere.
5. Let Them Help You and Do Things for Themselves.
Yes, this will can be very painful for you as you watch them slowly learn to do something, but resist the urge to rush in and do it for them. Remember when you learned to tie your shoes, it’s painstaking but the only way to learn is to do it yourself, slowly and patiently.
Letting them do things for themselves will
- give them confidence
- build skills
- let them feel like they are contributing to the family
6. Encourage Their Passions and Interests
This is especially important if they are interested in something that you aren’t. Your kid loves baseball and you can’t stand it? Make an effort to support and encourage them. Show up to their games and heartily cheer them on. They will know you have their back and will always be there for them.
7. Say Yes Often
Research shows that strong relationships should have 5 positive interactions to every 1 negative. Instead of barking out “no” all the time (I’m guilty!), try to find ways to answer positively with a “yes”.
- You can run in the backyard, but not in the hall.
- You can’t have a cookie right now, but try some of these carrot sticks.
- When I finish folding the laundry, I can play that game with you.
8. Let Them Find Solutions to Problems
If you always do everything and solve every problem for your kids, then you will rob them of the chance to:
- build self-esteem
- grow in confidence
- learn how to solve problems on their own
Sure, they’re kids and they’ll need your guidance often, but hold off and let them try and work things out for themselves. You might have to actively teach them how to find solutions and work out problems.
9. Let Them Express Their Feelings
Teach your kids how to express their feelings (in a healthy way).
- Yes, it’s ok to be angry, but you can’t hit your sister. Let’s try taking a deep breath and counting to four.
- I see that you are sad. Do you need a hug?
- You seem frustrated. Do you want to talk about it?
10. Teach Them Conflict Resolution
Conflict is inevitable! Help prepare your children for difficult situations by teaching them conflict resolution. This will help prepare them for times when they are faced with working in a team, handling a difficult co-worker, or working on building up their own friendships.
Related: How to raise siblings to be friends
Related: Stop yelling and be a calm mom
11. Teach Boundaries
Resilient people know and respect boundaries. Strength comes from knowing who you are and how to protect yourself and respect the boundaries that others set.
12. Model Confidence and Self-Assurance
I already mentioned this, but as a parent, it is important that you model whatever you want your kids to do or be. Show them that you are confident in your own ability to solve problems and deal with hard situations.
13. Let Them Be Bored
Boredom forces kids to be creative and to realize that they aren’t always the center of attention. Being forced to find something to do can teach resourcefulness and give strength.
Since we all have to face some kind of adversity in life, help prepare your kids for difficult times by building them up to be resilient. Take time to teach these steps so they can go from being resilient kids to resilient adults! What are some ways that you help your kids through adversity? Share your tips on how to raise resilient kids in the comments!