There are things that happen in life that no parent can predict or coach their child for. How do you prepare your child for a world you may not
Starting in childhood, uncertainty is an opportunity to learn to adapt to different or changing environments in the future, and a chance to build resilience, coping skills and confidence to overcome challenges or trip-ups.
Resilience and why it matters
Like the analogy of a ship weathering a storm, resilience is a
The effects of early life experiences last a lifetime and can help build resilience and influence
Dr. Megan R Gunnar, of the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, says, “We care about resilience for the same reason that we care about promoting healthy
“We are interested in promoting resilience in
For young children, who are
In these scenarios, learning how to cope and overcome “manageable threats” is essential for developing resilience. Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child goes on to say:
“Not all stress is harmful. There are numerous opportunities in every child’s life to experience manageable stress – and with the help of supportive adults, this ‘positive stress’ can be growth-promoting. Over time, we become better able to cope with life’s obstacles and hardships, both physically and mentally.”
Becoming a master of their emotions and social situations
Emotional resilience is about developing emotional strength, from testing the limits of their fear
And it’s not just a desire to climb trees or jump off things, children seek out socially challenging situations, like playing with children they don’t know or older children, which is key to them learning to cooperate and navigate conflict. The social resilience and emotional skills that come from these social situations
Resilience – it’s not built overnight
If your child is shy or tantrum-prone, you may feel as if building resilience is not in easy reach. However, it’s better to see resilience as a journey over time, as University of Oregon’s
In other words, resilience is a muscle that can
Allowing your child to experience the world around them from a young age is a great way to build their resilience and ready them for the future.
Be a gardener, not a carpenter, in their playtime
Naturally, we want to guide our children and show them how to do things. However, when adults control play, children abide by adult rules and directions, leading to a loss in some of
Author and psychology professor, Alison Gopnik, calls this being a gardener and not a carpenter. In her book, The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children, she describes a carpenter as someone who treats a child as if they are a raw material to be shaped into something, while a gardener is someone who approaches caregiving as tending a garden, nurturing plants to flourish. To be a gardener, it’s important to create scaffolding for children to build knowledge and discover for themselves, while not actually directly teaching or telling them what to do.
In recent years, to support this undirected play, ‘junk playgrounds’ have begun to pop up around the globe. Of course, you don’t need to make the pilgrimage to such places. Crawling about in the sand at the beach, making mudpies in the backyard, playing with leaves at the local park and messing around with pets on the floor, are all great ways for kids to get a feel of the world around them and encounter new experiences and sensations.
In a 2017 presentation, Dr Tim Moore, a Senior Research Fellow at the Royal Children’s Hospital summed up what children need
In this environment, children will develop the capabilities, confidence