At Mini First Aid we regularly post blogs about your child’s physical health – what should you do in the event of a burn? What if your child starts choking? It’s hugely important to us to get these messages out to as many parents as possible. But what about your child’s mental health? Especially after so many turbulent months of dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on top of the latest lockdown and school closures? It got us thinking about how we can support you as parents and carers to protect your child’s mental wellbeing. So, we’ve teamed up with the amazing Action for Children, a charity which protects and supports children and young people, providing practical and emotional care and support when they most need it. And this week we are talking resilience . . .
What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability of people to recover quickly after something unpleasant. A global pandemic for example?! It’s something we all need a lot of at the moment! A good way to talk about it with your child is using the comparison of a bouncy ball – if it gets dropped, it bounces back up! We have “bounce-back ability” too, and, as children, we get to try it out lots in real life – whether it's how we cope with a fall, to how we react to a sibling or friend stealing our favourite Peppa Pig toy!
Why is it important that my child is resilient?
As parents we do everything we can to help our children avoid stressful situations but we can’t shield them from everything. And nor should we! Children are constantly learning and using their new skills, and having the chance to try them out is super important:
- Having opportunities to be resilient helps your child be curious, brave and trust their instincts
- Testing resilience helps children problem solve, and therefore cope better with more complex situations as they grow up
- They come to know their limits and push themselves out of their comfort zone when they’re older
How can you help teach your child resilience?
Resilience is something we are all born with, and we all have the ability to build on it throughout our lives. As parents, we have the opportunity to boost our children’s resilience in lots of simple ways:
Build loving relationships
Having safe, loving relationships makes children feel good about themselves. It’s so important they know someone is there to protect them and wipe away their tears when things go wrong. This gives them the confidence to continue exploring their world, and basically, be kids.
Be the best role model you can be!
Children learn from the adults around them. When your child sees you coping well with every day stress, you are showing them how to do the same.
Encourage them to ask for help
Let your child know it’s okay to ask for help, and it doesn’t mean they have failed. This will make it easier for them to ask for help in the future. If they struggle with this, come up with a sign to use when they need help – it might be a special “code word”, or they could put a specific toy in a spot you choose together.
Encourage your child to keep trying when they find learning a new skill difficult – use phrases like “you can do it!” or “well done for trying so hard!”
Build confidence and self-esteem
Build their confidence by pointing out all the things about them that make you proud. Try “You are so funny!”, “you are very kind and caring”, or “you try very hard”.
Play thinking games to encourage problem solving
Thinking games are fab for children aged three and over. Let them really use their imaginations, and reassure them there are no right or wrong answers! Try asking:
- “What do you think will happen if……?”
- “What are you saying to yourself in your head?”
- “If you were a superhero, what would you do?”
Need some more advice?
Action for Children are committed to helping parents by providing down-to-earth advice you can trust – you can chat online or request a call back from a qualified parenting coach about anything that’s worrying you, and its all free. Click here for 1:1 support