7 Tips to Build Resilience in Children of All Ages
The Straits Times
Republished with Permission
28 August 2022
Mr Chong Ee Jay, a family life specialist at the charity Focus on the Family Singapore, says learning to adjust to the changing circumstances of the pandemic is a valuable skill.
He says: "Our children have showed tenacity in adapting to the new norms, positivity in continued learning, as well as creativity in maintaining relationships with friends and loved ones. These are all attributes of resilience."
Parents and caregivers can build on these attributes by encouraging their children to "pivot these habits into daily living", he says.
Mr Chong...suggests that inculcating a spirit of helpfulness also builds resilience by reminding children that they can contribute to a wider community and purpose.
Pre-schoolers can start by doing simple household chores, such as setting the table for dinner or watering the plants, he says.
Mr Chong adds: "In developing resilience, our children need a strong emotional foundation from which they draw strength and courage. They need to know that they are of worth, significant and loved unconditionally, for who they are and not just what they do. Who are the best people to give them that sense of security and to build their character and confidence? It is you and me - the parents, caregivers and adults in their lives."
Learning to navigate knotty issues and solve problems can help primary school children and teenagers build resilience.
Mr Chong suggests guiding children to use the Sodas guide:
Identify the Situation: What happened?
Explore two or three Options within the youngster's control: What are the things you can do? Where can you get help? How can you do it?
Think of the Disadvantages of each option: What are some negative consequences?
Think of the Advantages of each option: What are some positive outcomes?
Select the best overall Solution.
Mr Chong says allowing room for mistakes requires stepping away from helicopter parenting, where parents "hover" over their kids to micromanage and guide them.
He says: "Raising resilient children means raising kids who know how to learn from their failures and can see obstacles as stepping stones or opportunities for growth.
"Avoid 'rescuing' our children from difficulties, being a helicopter parent or policing them. Instead, be a parent coach to encourage them, letting go to let them try - and face consequences, both positive and negative - and being there to guide, nurture and empathise with them."
Mr Chong...suggests word search puzzles and Rubik's Cubes that could demonstrate qualities like patience and an appreciation of different perspectives for primary school children. Completing a Lego set could enhance a pre-schooler's determination and discipline.