The ability to adapt well, despite the challenges or traumas you face, is what emotional resilience is. As children grow they encounter different emotional challenges and traumas during their time in the school environment, from changing schools and learning how to adapt to new teachers and teaching styles, through to bullying and isolation.
At home, they may also experience situations that call for them to be emotionally resilient, such as their parents divorcing, moving to a new area, the death of someone they know. And of course, at the moment, COVID-19 and the current lockdown situation is another traumatic experience for children and adults alike!
Your child needs emotional resilience to handle the challenges life brings
Each of these situations creates stress and trauma for a child. If you want your child to develop emotional resilience, they need to be able to manage the feelings and emotions these types of situations bring – including feelings such as anxiety, stress and uncertainty.
If your child has emotional resilience it doesn’t mean they won’t still experience difficulty or stress. They’ll still experience many of those traumatic and challenging experiences. But it does mean they’ll know how to express themselves and deal with those emotions in a healthy way.
Help your child develop emotional resilience
Although you can’t deal with life’s traumas for your child, you can help them to develop emotional resilience – by using the following tips as guidance.
Encourage them to make friends
Building friendships helps establish empathy and connection with others. They learn that if they want to have friends, they need to be a good friend. Friendships help your child know if they have support and friendship, they’re never alone.
Help them establish a strong network around them
Having a strong support network around them will stand them in good stead. Let them know it’s where they can talk about what they’re feeling and experiencing, so they never have to feel isolated.
Encourage your child to help others
Helping someone else can move a child from feeling helpless to empowered. Encourage them to volunteer for age-appropriate activities and ask for help yourself, so they feel included at home.
A good routine can help develop emotional resilience
Routines not only give us structure, but they also are comforting. Highlight how we can use routine to help get things done and feel a sense of accomplishment in our daily lives.
Teach your child the importance of self-care
This isn’t just about ensuring your child eats well, exercises and has a good sleep pattern. A good self-care routine will help your child understand the importance of taking time out to relax and allowing themselves time to have fun. Practising mindfulness is one useful tool they can use as part of their self-care routine.
Maintain perspective and a positive outlook
Teaching your child to have a positive outlook helps them to see that there’s always something to be grateful for and to look forward to. Perspective enables us to see the bigger picture and to know there is more to life than the current problem or issue, as well as a positive future afterwards. Show them how to step back and look at what they can learn from the situation to help them adapt and grow as a result.
A healthy level of self-worth
Remind your child that we all develop a level of trust in ourselves and what we’re good at and capable of. We can solve problems and make decisions based on how much we trust ourselves. If they’re facing a difficult situation, it can help to remember back to similar situations and how we overcome them, to know that we built strength as a result.
As children grow they encounter different emotional challenges and traumas during their time at school and home. COVID-19 and the current lockdown situation is one such example. But if you use the tips above to help your child develop emotional resilience, they’ll be better equipped to deal with the situation and the associated feelings they’re experiencing as a result of it.
If you’d like to help your child further with their mental and emotional well-being, as well as with how the coronavirus is affecting them, The Children’s Society has a wealth of resources available to help: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/coronavirus-information-and-support