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Three tips to increase resilience in children during the school year

Three tips to increase resilience in children during the school year

With the school year starting, children may feel anxious and pressure knowing increasing expectations are just over the horizon. Often times we see our kids become more emotional, show unfamiliar behaviors or develop imagined illness that keep them home from school as a means to deal with the stress that they experience.

Watching our kids struggle through the school year can leave a parent feeling protective and helpless. A parent’s response can make the difference between a child building reliance vs believing they are failures. Resilience comes from learning through tough experiences and picking yourself up and trying again. Below are a few tips in raising resilient kids.

Empathize with your child’s feelings
Children will experience a large array of emotion through the school year—both negative and positive. While it is hard to watch our kids go through bigger emotions they don’t need parents to fix it; they need empathy and understanding. It’s OK for children to experience frustration, disappointment, sadness and more. Empathizing with them and allowing them to go through their process will increase their emotional fitness for the future.

Coach instead of fix
Children face multiple challenges and make mistakes every day. Sometimes parents have the natural tendency to swoop in and intervene, instead of allowing their kids to work through it. Constant intervention from parents prevents learning while decreasing self-esteem. Your job is to support your children, instead of doing for them. Simple open ended questions such as, “How well does that work for you?” or, “What would it take to accomplish that?” can help them make their own decisions and get them on the right path. In addition, helping your kids structure their tasks can help them set a firm foundation to do their work.

Encourage, encourage and then encourage some more
Children need encouragement through the school year to help them feel positive, motivated and focused. It also helps them develop a positive inner voice that will stick with them through a lifetime, which only strengthens their ability to get back up when life knocks them down.

Building resilience is a process and is developed through learning to manage the experiences we face on a daily basis. Stepping back, giving your kids some control and supporting them through life’s challenges will help build that ability to bounce back and successfully meet the demands that are placed on them.

Karissa Morris is a Provisional Professional Counselor (PPC) in the Campbell County Medical Group Kid Clinic, a school-based pediatric clinic in Gillette, Wyoming. The medical clinic serves children ages 2 weeks to 18 years old; and counseling services for children 4 years old to 21 years old. It is located at 800 Butler Spaeth Rd., across from St. Matthew’s Catholic Church. The Kid Clinic is open Monday-Friday from 8 am-5 pm. For more information, call 307-688-8700 or visit www.cchwyo.org/services/pediatrics/kid-clinic/.

The Kid Clinic is a collaborative effort between Campbell County Health and Campbell County School District.