Resilience can be a difficult skill to teach our kids, it can be a slow and emotional journey seeing them take every knock-back or small rejection to heart. Building resilience does take time and practice. Below are 7 tips that you can do with your child or students to help build resilience in children.
When some children don’t get their own way or think something is ‘totally unfair!’ they immediately come running to a parent or teacher. Sometimes all they need to do is take a deep breath and survey the situation. This helps them calm down and not be so reactive. They might come to the conclusion to let the issue go, or to compromise with the child they are frustrated or annoyed with.
Teaching children how to breathe when a situation is getting the better of their emotions can be done by gentle reminders and talking to them about what to do in frustrating situations. Ask them, ‘Did you breathe?’
Learning how to talk to other children. Some children like to yell, command and boss people around… Surprisingly, I usually find that these are the first to come and ask me to fix a conflict (implying that the other child should get into trouble). Children understand how to talk to adults properly, but often get carried away and forget their manners when talking to other children. Talking to others calmly can help reduce the amount of conflicts your child has and therefore become less anxious about having a conflict.
Walking away from a confronting situation can be very difficult for some adults, let alone trying to build this skill in our children. However, it is a great skill to have! It is not say that children shouldn’t learn to stick up for themselves, when children physically take themselves out of a situation it is easier for all children to calm down. The other child may also realise that they have offended and learn to be more polite next time.
*In repeated bullying situations I would recommend the child discussing it with the teacher first and they may be able to set up a safe environment for a discussion to happen.
Children who have lots of different pockets of friends have more opportunities to form close bonds. They also have others to play with when their ‘best friend’ is away sick or they are just not getting along any more. Also, they are exposed to many more different personality types and get to know that everyone is different.
5. Alone time
Children who are used to being alone without lots of stimulus are able to move away easier from people they may be having a conflict with. Socialisation is very important for children, but so is learning to be by yourself sometimes, drawing a picture or reading a book.
6. Buddy Bench
A lot of schools now have a Buddy Bench the Buddy Bench is a place to go when they have no-one to play with or are having conflict with the friends that they usually play with. If your child’s school doesn’t have one perhaps suggest that they start one.
7. Structured play
This is the last resort. If your child is constantly having conflict with someone in particular, suggest to the teacher the option of structured play. This can help students learn all the above skills in a safe and structured environment.
Primary school children can at times be dramatic about some conflicts they may be having with their peers. It breaks my heart to see how emotional they can become, like it’s the end of the world. The term ‘Bully’ also gets thrown around a lot and more often than not it is a case of both students not using the above conflict management techniques to sort out a small problem.
*If your child is suffering from ongoing bullying make sure you speak to the teacher. Every situation is different.