Baby Steps to Resilience.
We all want children who can bounce back from a fall; be it metaphorically or literally. But how do we go about helping our children be more resilient? And are we sometimes, unknowingly, creating stresses for our babies? Anxiety is normal, we all need some stress in our lives; it helps us better prepare for what’s ahead, both physically & mentally. But too much can be crippling. How do you get the balance right? I’ve put together a few steps below that might help parents build resilience and reduce anxiety in their children.
1. Communicate: I know I say this ALL THE TIME! But that’s because it’s so important. If our baby’s and children know what is going to happen next, they can better prepare to deal with it. For example: if you’re about to turn on a loud kitchen appliance, tell your baby first. Your tone should indicate that something is about to happen; rather than switching on a screaming blender without warning and scaring the life out of them!
2. Stop and pause: Don’t jump in to help a struggling child; instead let them keep trying and work through their frustrations. Having big feelings is ok and these feelings should be validated but you shouldn’t “save” your child from every tough challenge.
3. Failure: While challenging babies is important; try not to set them up for failure. Giving toys that are beyond their years; stuff you know they won’t be able to do on their own or that they will struggle to “complete” will only leave babies and children feeling that they can’t do anything without mammy’s help. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever play with your children; it just means playing games that are age appropriate.
4. Independence: Encourage independence by letting your child take part in self-care. This takes time & we really need to remind ourselves to SLOW DOWN. Everything does not have to be done at break neck speed. Involve babies in nappy changes, getting dressed, bath time etc. Small tasks that will eventually lead to bigger responsibilities. I noticed one day that my daughter was able to take her own coat off when I left her to it, until then I had been taking it off for her as soon as we got in the door. She still struggles with it and it takes everything I have not to step in and “fix” it. But that look of satisfaction on her face when she does finally get it off is so worth it!
So that’s it – four simple steps to start you off. Do you have any tips to build resilience? Or do you stress out over the smallest things? Please let me know in the comments…