Quick look at next week: Tuesday we have Trent gym, and we are giving the Trent Turtle Math Contest a try. Jimmy Chapman, the breakdancer, is coming again Friday. Students are finishing up their Study of a Country this week, too.
Adapting to Changing Conditions: in search of Resilience
Some seasons are more fraught with changing conditions than others. Certainly, this second term in UE has come with its share of changes in routine (snow/ice/ski days, timetable and work changes). Some children adapt to these changes quite readily, and for others, even a small change seems an impassable, overwhelming mountain. We are all invested in the end goal of having our children be able to adapt and adjust well to new situations. We would like to see them develop resilience. We also know that ‘Smooth Seas Do Not a Sailor Make’. It is our job to show them some good tools to try when life throws them curves, and the going gets tough.
The Importance of Resilience
Resilience (or resiliency) is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t wallow or dwell on failures; they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes, and then move forward.
We all can develop resilience, and we can help our children develop it as well. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned over time. The following are tips to building resilience.
- Make connections
Teach your child how to make friends, including the skill of empathy, or feeling another’s pain. Encourage your child to be a friend in order to get friends. Build a strong family network to support your child through his or her inevitable disappointments and hurts. Connecting with people provides social support and strengthens resilience.
- Service: help your child by having him or her help others
Children who may feel helpless can be empowered and build self-esteem by helping others. Engage your child in age-appropriate volunteer work, or ask for assistance yourself with some task that he or she can master.
- Maintain a daily routine
Sticking to a routine can be comforting to children, especially younger children who crave structure in their lives. Encourage your child to develop his or her own routines.
- Take a break: the tool of distraction
While it is important to stick to routines, endlessly worrying can be counter-productive. Teach your child how to focus on something besides what’s worrying him. Be aware of what your child is exposed to that can be troubling, whether it be news, the Internet or overheard conversations, and make sure your child takes a break from those things if they trouble her.
- Teach your child self-care
Make yourself a good example, and teach your child the importance of making time to eat properly, exercise and rest. Make sure your child has time to have fun, and make sure that your child hasn’t scheduled every moment of his or her life with no “down time” to relax. Caring for oneself and even having fun will help your child stay balanced and better deal with stressful times.
- Move toward your goals
Teach your child to set reasonable goals and then to move toward them one step at a time. Moving toward that goal — even if it’s a tiny step — and receiving praise for doing so will focus your child on what he or she has accomplished rather than on what hasn’t been accomplished, and can help build the resilience to move forward in the face of challenges.
- Nurture a positive self-view
Help your child remember ways that he or she has successfully handled hardships in the past and then help him understand that these past challenges help him build the strength to handle future challenges. Help your child learn to trust himself to solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Teach your child to see the humour in life, and the ability to laugh at one’s self.
- “This, too, shall pass…”
Even when your child is facing very painful events, help him look at the situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Although your child may be too young to consider a long-term look on his own, help him or her see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good. An optimistic and positive outlook enables your child to see the good things in life and keep going even in the hardest times.