The Back to School Game Changer - Helping your child develop a Resilient Mindset!
It's that time of year again when parents and guardians flock to malls and big box stores to stock up on school supplies to prepare their young learners for success. But what about preparing them mentally for the challenges and demands they will inevitably face during the school year?
Each year brings forth different emotions in children, from excitement to dread. No matter what feelings your child is experiencing, as a parent or guardian, you play a pivotal role in helping them build the skills necessary for success.
The ability to be resilient is a key personality trait of success. Resiliency is as "the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress." (Merriam-Webster) In other words, it is the capacity to "bounce back" from difficult experiences.
The benefits of promoting resiliency in children extend both inside and outside of the classroom. As part of our back-to-school series, which I'm excited about, this week's episode of The Notes From A Child Psychologist Podcast discusses how parents and caregivers can encourage a resilient mindset in children, specifically, how resiliency shows up in the classroom.
What are the benefits of resiliency in children?
The internet is filled with articles and case studies for developing a growth mindset in adults. An individual with a growth mindset believes that his/her abilities and intelligence can be improved with effort and perseverance; it is the antithesis of a fixed mindset, which is the belief that intelligence and ability are fixed traits that cannot be changed. We can help our children develop resiliency by encouraging strength in them early on.
The classroom setting presents the perfect opportunity to learn this life skill. Resilient children become emotionally stable adults better equipped to manage stress, handle adversity, and feel in control of their lives.
Children who demonstrate their resiliency in the classroom:
Take calculated risks– Engage in academic activities outside their comfort zone, even when they have never been exposed.
Develop Curiosity- Feel comfortable asking questions and exploring new topics – This trait fuels an appreciation for learning and a thirst for knowledge because they know they can grow and learn - even if the subject matter is unclear at the moment.
Gain Confidence– They internalize that they are brave and capable by interacting with teachers and their peers. As they step outside their comfort zone, their sense of self grows.
Greater Self-Awareness - Some children are more self-aware than others; luckily, this skill can be developed as your child understands their emotions, strengths, and weaknesses.
All of these traits promote a growth mindset in children and help them to handle difficult situations in the classroom. A resilient mindset allows children to feel in control of their academic future and see setbacks as an opportunity to grow rather than a reflection of their intelligence or ability.
How can parents and guardians promote resiliency in children?
Resiliency in the classroom is a skill that parents and caregivers can begin to nurture at home. My first tip as a Mental Health Expert is to ensure that the home is a safe place with an emotionally available adult present. Children also learn by modeling behavior. One way to model resiliency is to let your child see you problem solve complex situations, thus promoting open dialogue. For additional tips on developing trust and open communication with your child, check out this Podcast Episode, Teaching Children How To Handle Their Emotions.
Tips on encouraging resiliency at home:
Develop a solid relationship with your child - I've discussed the benefits of children having adults that they can trust. Building trust starts with spending quality time with your child. The amount and frequency of time depend on the child and the values set forth by the family. I discuss this subject in detail here in my article, Who Makes The Parenting Rules, or you can check out this week's full podcast episode, I share several tips around the 24 minute mark.
Encourage "Can Do" Language - Children often give up too easily when faced with new challenges. They must be reminded that they CAN do hard things. A simple language shift from "I can't" to "How can I" goes a long way in building a "Can Do" Attitude.
Acknowledge Feelings and Help Them Find Solutions- Validating feelings is crucial for developing a trusting relationship with children. It can be upsetting to witness your child experiencing what I call "Big Emotions" such as crying or anxiety." Our goal is to assist our children in resolving their concerns in developmentally appropriate ways, which leads to my next tip.
Teach Them How To Solve Problems - Many times, children give up because they don't know how to solve the problem they are facing. As adults, we can guide them through problem-solving strategies in age-appropriate ways. For example, a toddler may need help cleaning up a mess they made. You can model for them how to do it and then have them try it themselves. By modeling the behavior, your child will learn how to problem-solve in a way that works for them.
Encourage Your Child To Ask For Help - We want our children to be independent. However, this doesn't mean that they shouldn't ask for help when they need it. Asking for help is a sign of strength. It shows they are resourceful enough to know when they need assistance and confident enough to speak up and ask.
In the classroom, this skill can make the difference between a child feeling overwhelmed by learning a new skill or feeling confident and in control.
Ask Questions and Provide Feedback. Often - Asking questions is a great way to encourage active learning. Additionally, providing feedback after your child completes a task shows them that you are engaged in their learning. Make sure to give feedback that is specific and objective.
For example, "I noticed you struggled with your assignment. What help do you need?". This phrase demonstrates that you're paying attention and are available to help your child find solutions to their problem.
I hope you found this article and series helpful! If so, please take a moment to listen to the full podcast episode, The Back to School Game Changer - Helping, Your Child, Develop A Resilient Mindset. It's filled with insights and strategies. Also, I would love to hear your thoughts on this series. Please feel free to leave a comment and share with your community. Thank You for reading!
Note of the week- https://www.psycom.net/build-resilience-children
Email Address- Dr.firstname.lastname@example.org