This week’s Blog was written by my colleague Lily Jones. Lily’s life’s mission is to inspire a love of learning. I am thrilled to share her brilliant and useful advice with you.
As our kids head back to school, we all want them to be successful. But school, like life, is not entirely full of wins. We will all experience both success and failure, and both are important parts of our development. We teach our kids to achieve and celebrate them when they do, but we need to put as much effort into teaching them to learn from their failures. When kids are resilient, they are able to persist through challenges and see them as learning opportunities.
Follow these tips to help your child develop resilience:
Develop a Growth Mindset
Growth mindset is the idea that intelligence isn’t fixed, but something that is developed through hard work and effort. When we fail at something, it doesn’t mean we’re not good at it. It means we have more to learn! So if your child comes home from school frustrated that he’s “not good at math,” reassure him that the ability to do math isn’t something you’re born with. It’s something that you develop over time, through hard work and persistence.
Share Your Own Struggles
Talk about successes and failures. We are all tempted by a glossy version of “success”, but it’s important to show our kids that the path to success is often bumpy and filled with detours. Talk explicitly about resilience and how it’s important to develop the ability to recover from difficult situations. When you’re facing a struggle related to resilience, share it with your child. Talking about hard times helps make them learning experiences.
By modeling how to talk about challenges and resilience, you open the door to conversations about your child’s struggles. When talking about how your child’s day went, don’t just talk about the good stuff. Ask your child to reflect on what was challenging about her day and how she did/didn’t overcome it. Normalize struggle by making it a routine part of your conversations.
Persist Through Challenges
It’s one thing to get your child to share her struggles, but another to help her persist through them. To encourage persistence, go back to examples of people who have persevered through tough times. Remind your child that success happens to people who don’t give up. Everyone has detours and bumps along their journeys, but its those who persist who achieve success.
Even when pushing through difficult situations, it may still be tempting to solely celebrate the overall success (“You made it!”). You should definitely praise your child for this, but it’s just as important to praise the messy first steps. Celebrate your child as she moves forward with working on something that’s hard for her or trying something that feels uncomfortable. Recognizing and celebrating these actions can help your child persevere.
As the school year begins, take some time to talk about resilience with your child. When we raise resilient children, we raise kids who are able to navigate the world with grace.
Lily Jones is the founder of Curiosity Pack, where she creates hands-on activities that inspire kids to love learning. Join the Changemakers Club to help your child develop the empathy and agency needed to change the world!