On Raising Resilient Kids: 10 Ways to Let Go



There is a lively discussion in the parenting world about how much parents need to manage their children’s lives, but there is no doubt when kids are left alone with a new idea or skill they are more engaged and willing to tolerate mistakes.  This leads to resiliency, a skill we all need to face life’s challenges.  It is not bestowed upon our children with a magic wand, it is earned over and over by facing fears, making mistakes, trying again.  “Fall down 7 times, stand up 8,” the wise saying goes.  Here are 10 ways to help your child to her feet again with compassion:

1. Do not hover when your child is learning a new skill

2. Wait to help with a problem until he asks, this is harder than you think.  We want to cut short the whining and frustration and often step in before we need to, just before the answer arrives on his own, and there is much more power in arriving to the answer on one’s own

3. Brainstorm together then let her choose the solution.  Be goofy, make quirky suggestions along with the sensible one.  Think outside the box!

4. Model good problem solving skills yourself and do not show anger or frustration when things do not go as planned.  Say I am so frustrated but I will try it this way…  and then do it

5. Do not offer feedback until you are asked!  All feedback is judgement, good or bad.  Here’s a post on why parents should stop saying Good Job

6. Have resource boxes in your home (art, inventor’s, dress-up) where the activities are open ended and have no instructions, it is better than screen time!  Keep the boxes handy and filled with interesting things

7. Believe your child has the ability to solve a problem and say so out loud in a matter-of-fact voice and walk away

8. Do not second guess or shortcut your child’s attempts at problem solving.  There are sudden and beautiful answers in a child’s mind

9. Make time for play that has no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way

10. Encourage relationships with other adults

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  1. Mary Kongsgaard says:

    I love reading your wisdom every Saturday, Nance, and being reminded of common sense notions. This week is especially helpful.

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