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Hilal Her

Building Resilience and Grit in Your Children

May 2024

Don’t give up! This is the mantra that many parents, like myself, repeat as we drive our children to and from sports and activities that seem to go on forever. But what about our children? The question of grit, resilience, and kids’ sports is often the subject of much discussion and debate. As parents and educators, what do we do when our children tell us that they want to “take a break” or that they want to quit?
Resilience refers to the capacity to recover quickly from stress, hardship, failure, obstacles, or even trauma. It involves experiencing a fall from the bike and feeling a slight sense of fear, yet choosing to get back on the bike nevertheless. Resilient children possess qualities such as curiosity, courage, and a strong reliance on their intuition. They are self-aware of their boundaries and actively challenge themselves to venture outside their familiar territories. Mentally strong individuals possess the additional attribute of grit, which is an unseen quality. Grit refers to a child’s unwavering determination and intense dedication towards achieving long-term objectives. It involves possessing endurance and remaining committed to one’s objectives and aspirations consistently, without exception.
Children neither possess nor lack grit and resilience as inherent abilities. These are skills that children can acquire and enhance as they mature. In the contemporary era characterized by high levels of stress, the qualities of resilience and grit play a crucial role in enabling children to develop into well-adjusted and accomplished individuals who possess the ability to effectively handle challenges that are within their capacity to manage. This is of utmost importance for attaining their desired objectives in life. Parents can foster these skills by establishing a secure environment for their children to experiment with novel activities, assisting them in analyzing setbacks and failures and formulating pragmatic, demanding, and achievable objectives. 
Encourage a Growth Mindset
Assist your child in developing a growth mindset by instructing them to view problems not as dangers but as opportunities for personal development and growth. It is important to make sure that they get that it is a natural part of the learning process to make mistakes, and that it is their efforts and tenacity that lead to achievement and success.
Set Realistic Expectations
Encourage your child to develop attainable objectives and break those goals down into smaller, manageable activities. Develop honest and reasonable expectations. Celebrating their progress along the way is also an effective strategy for keeping them motivated and engaged.
Promote Problem-Solving Skills
Encourage your child to think critically and imaginatively when confronted with challenges to support the development of problem-solving skills. You should assist them in devising various solutions and evaluating the effects that could result from each decision.
Provide Supportive Feedback
It is important to provide feedback that is constructive and focuses on the effort and improvement rather than providing input solely on the outcome. Your child should be encouraged to learn from their mistakes and to view them as chances for growth at all times.
Teach Coping Strategies
Teaching your child how to cope with stress and adversity can help them develop effective coping mechanisms. Exercises that involve deep breathing, promote mindfulness, etc., and participation in activities that they like are all examples of this.
Lead by Example
Be a role model for resilience and grit in your own life. Let your child see you facing challenges with determination and perseverance, and share your own experiences of overcoming obstacles. Allow your child to take on age-appropriate responsibilities and make decisions for them. This helps them develop confidence in their abilities and resilience in the face of adversity.
Build a Supportive Environment
Foster a supportive and nurturing environment at home where your child feels safe to express their emotions and ask for help when needed. Encourage open communication and validate their feelings. Focus on praising your child’s hard work, perseverance, and resilience rather than solely on their achievements. This reinforces the importance of effort and determination in reaching their goals.
Provide Opportunities for Growth
Expose your child to new experiences and challenges that allow them to develop resilience and grit. This could include trying new activities, volunteering, or participating in team sports or clubs.
Activities that Help Build Resilience and Grit
Now that we have a basic understanding of resilience and grit, let’s talk about some extremely entertaining activities that might assist our young children in aptly navigating life’s challenges and fostering these qualities.
•    Obstacle Courses: Set up a backyard obstacle course using everyday items like chairs, ropes, cones, and cushions. Encourage your child to navigate the course while overcoming challenges and obstacles. This helps them build physical and mental resilience as they problem-solve and persevere through the course.
•    Team Building Games: Organize team-building games such as relay races, tug-of-war, or scavenger hunts. These activities encourage cooperation, communication, and resilience as children work together to achieve a common goal.
•    Outdoor Adventures: Take your child on outdoor adventures such as hiking, camping, or rock climbing. These activities provide opportunities for children to step out of their comfort zones, face challenges in nature, and develop resilience as they adapt to new environments and overcome obstacles.
•    Artistic Expression: Encourage your child to express themselves creatively through art, music, or drama. Creative activities provide an outlet for children to explore their emotions, express themselves authentically, and develop resilience by learning to embrace imperfection and adapt to unexpected outcomes.
•    Board Games and Puzzles: Play board games and puzzles that require strategy, critical thinking, and perseverance. Games like chess, scrabble, or jigsaw puzzles help children develop resilience as they learn to strategize, adapt to changing circumstances, and persist through challenges.
•    Role-Playing Scenarios: Create role-playing scenarios where your child can practice responding to different challenges and setbacks. For example, pretend to be a teacher who gives them a difficult assignment or a friend who disagrees with them. This helps children develop resilience by learning how to handle adversity and conflict in a safe and supportive environment.
•    Cooking Together: Cook together with your child and encourage them to try new recipes or techniques. Cooking provides opportunities for children to learn from their mistakes, problem-solve, and develop resilience as they experiment with different ingredients and flavors.
•    Outdoor Gardening: Start a small garden together and involve your child in planting, watering, and caring for the plants. Gardening teaches children patience, responsibility, and resilience as they learn to nurture living things and adapt to nature’s unpredictability.
•    Storytelling and Writing: Encourage your child to write stories or journals about their experiences, challenges, and triumphs. Writing allows children to reflect on their thoughts and feelings, build resilience by processing their emotions, and develop grit by persisting through the writing process.
•    Animal Interactions: Visit a local animal shelter, farm, or zoo where your child can interact with animals. Animals provide comfort, companionship, and opportunities for children to develop empathy, patience, and resilience as they care for and connect with other living beings.
It is crucial to remember that developing resilience requires a significant amount of time, and the process will be different for each child. Regardless of our role as a parent, instructor, or caregiver, we should establish a conducive and nurturing environment for our young ones. Let us demonstrate to them the importance of self-belief, facing life’s obstacles with a positive attitude, and making a beneficial influence in their own lives and the world at large.


 

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