In the last few years, children have faced unprecedented stress.
From the pandemic turning school life upside down to the climate crisis, there has been a concerning increase in mental health cases among children.
Conditions such as anxiety and depression in children have risen by 48% since 2004, with one in every eight children having a diagnosable mental health condition.
As well as mental health issues, stress plays a big part in children’s lives.
For example, two-thirds of children say they feel stressed about exams.
A quarter of children feel stressed about bullying, and others surveyed say they worry about paying bills, and their parent’s jobs, with one-fifth feeling stressed that they don’t have enough money.
Sadly, all children will experience stress at some stage.
But there are ways to help build a child’s resilience, so they feel better able to cope with stress.
We can’t help children avoid adversity, but we can help them learn about bouncing back.
To help your child build more resilience, try adopting some of these five strategies:
Five Resilience-Boosting Strategies
Create Healthy Risks
Staying in a comfort zone feels safe and easy.
However, it is moving outside of a comfort zone and taking risks that can help children learn, grow, experience and handle challenges.
Encourage (nudge but don’t force) children to try new sports, start conversations with peers, or participate in events.
This means leading by example. Instead of saying you’re too old or too scared to try something new, show your child they have nothing to fear by demonstrating you take healthy risks too.
Be In Their Corner
One-on-one support is important for children to know that you’re always there.
This doesn’t have to be hours of devoted time together but creating moments of distraction-free nurturing can help your child to feel that they are important enough to have your undivided attention.
While it may not seem like much, this time can help to create a sense of reliability, someone to turn to and a safe space to open up if they want to.
Devise Bespoke Coping Toolkit
Every child will have a different way of coping when things get difficult.
However, some children don’t know how to cope with challenging situations. Creating a bespoke toolkit with your child will give them a place to turn to when they feel overwhelmed.
Learning a few breathing techniques and finding their favourite relaxation strategies can ensure they always know how to process their emotions.
For some children, journaling may be a great escape; others may love to run or cycle their stress away; yoga can calm the mind, as can mindful colouring.
Question Don’t Fix
As much as you want to, fixing your child’s problems doesn’t help them build resilience.
So, instead of coming up with ways to solve the problem, try asking them to develop their own solutions.
Some questions that may help include:
- If it happened again, what would you do differently?
- What would you advise a friend to do if they were in the same position?
- What are your possible next steps, and what are the pros and cons of each?
- How does it serve you to stay as you are now?
- What emotion do you feel now, and how’s that impacting your decisions?
- What’s the smallest thing you could do right now to help you feel better?
Learn To Love Failure
There is a strong link between anxiety and fear of failure.
Learning to embrace failure as just another chance to learn can help children move beyond a pass/fail mentality.
A growth mindset is a key part of resilience and is the mentality that they can continue developing, improving, and succeeding.
To do this, share your experiences of knockbacks and the positives that have come from them.
Famous quotes that can help when talking about mistakes to help your children embrace setbacks include:
“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein
“We learn from failure, not from success!” – Bram Stoker author of Dracula
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
If your child needs more support in building resilience, Flourished Minds offer life coaching for children and teens.
During our sessions, we help children explore situations that are holding them back and invite them to look with a fresh perspective.
We create a supportive and gently challenging environment to explore and build resilience to overcome setbacks and positively move forward.
To find out more about how we work and the support we can provide, chat with Head Coach Karen by booking a complimentary consultation.