14 ideas for teaching kids resilience

Coming back from the holidays and it can be hard to resume the school routine that typically consists of far less technology than the summer break. And technology is not the only thing parents need to curb now that the party’s over. Later nights, friends over, TV dinners and more.

Reverting to the sensible ways of school is ironically coupled with the desire to do it more, back at school, than ever.  Parents can be tempted to make their kids’ lives very easy.

However, if we want out children to triumph over adversity, to squarely face up to the inevitable difficulties and persevere, undeterred, we need to help our children build resilience. And like any learned skill, we need practice. As parents we can provide significant teaching moments for our children to strengthen the muscle of resilience.

A lot of us know all this but search for practical, tangible ways we can create resilient-building opportunities in our busy daily lives, prompts to weave into simply interactions with our children.

resilient child climbing outdoor unstructured play

14 Ideas for Teaching Kids Resilience

  1. Chat with them about what their comfort zone feels like and what might be outside it. Find a time to do something that sits just outside of their comfort zone
  2. Teach patience by asking your child to be the last one to serve themselves at a meal
  3. No technology at restaurants/cafes. This will teach patience in dealing with boredom but also encourage pro-social behaviour
  4. Do not give into the latest fad. Just because everyone else has it does not make it a good idea
  5. Encourage generosity by choosing some clothes or books to give away. Try to have them deliver these in person with you
  6. Chores, chores and more chores. The research is quite clear on this, children who grow up in households where chores were expected, are better able to work in teams and place importance on contributing to something greater than themselves
  7. Model self-restraint yourself. Talk aloud saying how much you wish you might have something but know why you shouldn’t/can’t have it
  8. Teach responsibility for belongings. Have them pack their school bag each morning and unpack it each night
  9. Neat and presentable school work. Not only does this please the teacher, it fosters pride in work and an attitude of patience required to achieve quality
  10. Encourage gratitude by reflecting what you are grateful for each morning at breakfast or in the car on the way to school
  11. Encourage optimism by having a ‘good things jar’ and place a note with one thing that went well during the day. The evening meal is the perfect time for this activity
  12. Be an emotion coach for your child. All feeling are allowed, not all behaviours are acceptable. “You feel really angry at your sister but hitting is not allowed."
  13. Gain perspective by seeing who might need your help in the neighbourhood
  14. Get out of the way! If there’s a 20% chance your child can do something, let them