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Supporting your child’s inner strength: How to raise a resilient child.

Supporting your child’s inner strength: How to raise a resilient child.

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Friday, December 24th, 2021

We often associate being a child with being carefree, but childhood isn’t immune against worry, disappointments, failures and hurt.

We live in a less-than-perfect world and life will undoubtedly throw curve balls at our children. They may, for example, need to adapt to a new group of friends, face a bully, cope with health challenges or experience the stress of being at the receiving end of crime or racist comments.

According to Dr Kenneth Ginsburg, “Resilience is the capacity to rise above difficult circumstances, the trait that allows us to exist in this less-than-perfect world while moving forward with optimism and confidence even in the midst of adversity.” 1

Fortunately, skills of resilience can be nurtured from a young age.

Laying the first foundations of resilience is not an easy job since we’re dealing with pre-schoolers and our goal is nothing less than preparing them to thrive in spite of or even because of the challenges that they will face on their life’s journey.

Inner strength doesn’t develop overnight. It’s a day-to-day, long-term undertaking.

Building resilience starts with nurturing a sense of competence in our children.

According to child psychologist Nicole Beurkens, competence is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently. Children feel competent when they have a sense of knowing that “I can do it!”

Children develop a sense of competence when parents and teachers create daily opportunities for them to tackle small tasks and everyday challenges.2

Practically speaking, something as basic as learning to wash dishes, fold laundry or take care of a pet is a big feat for children as it proves to them that they are useful, responsible and capable.

Another way to nurture a sense of competence in children is by playing educational games and board games with them at home. Simply learning the rules and being able to play the game provides them with a sense of accomplishment. And, if the game requires some skill and they can impress their parents with their persistence and progress – even better!  

Routines demonstrate to our children that healthy habits are important and manageable.

It’s important to have fixed routines, such as a bedtime and morning routine, as the structure creates a sense of order and predictability. When our children don’t have to forge forward amidst chaos, they have more emotional energy available to them for enjoying their lives, as well as coping with unexpected challenges.

Another benefit of fixed routines is that they provide an opportunity for “habit stacking”.

According to Stanford behaviour scientist B.J. Fogg, this means linking a new habit to an existing habit so that the old one acts as a trigger for the new one.3 As an example, you could help your child practice his or her part in an upcoming play by keeping the words posted in the bathroom and going over it every night after flossing.

Train your child’s inner voice to be kind and positive.

Educational psychologist Kristin Neff says the current emphasis on boosting children’s self-esteem is unhealthy as it creates a need in children to constantly compare themselves to others. Many children think they should blindly believe that they are better than other children to support their need for feeling exceptional.4

In contrast to this, the truth is that everybody can’t be “above average”. In a group of people where everyone thinks they are in the top 50%, 50% of them are deceived.

The most important job of a parent is to make a child feel intrinsically worthy and capable of making a valuable contribution in this world - no matter their accomplishments or failures.

We as parents can train our children’s inner voice to be kind and positive by teaching them that succeeding and failing are two sides of one coin. They need to experience both ups and downs to learn all of life’s important lessons.

Children don’t need to excel in everything. What’s more, although it’s rewarding to win, the only realistic standard for consistent progress is working on improving one’s own personal best at a pace that is both challenging and achievable.

Teach your child the truth about “the good life”.

According to Dr Neff, people often feel as if something is wrong when they go through hard times or fail at something. This creates a feeling of being abnormal and separated from others while, ironically, being imperfect and having imperfect lives are traits we all have in common and therefore, it unites us all.

When children believe that it is possible to live “the good life” and that this type of life is free from adversity, they feel isolated when they have problems or suffer in some way. As a result, they shy away from getting the support and encouragement they need, and this makes them less resilient.

The antidote is to teach them that it’s perfectly normal to experience ups and downs. One way to do this would be to create a family tradition where children can be asked at dinnertime or bedtime to choose what they think was their high and low of the day.

Since a healthy body houses a healthy mind, it’s important to note that NESTLÉ® NANKID® 4 is a premium drink for children from 3 to 5 years old with a unique combination of ingredients.

We are excited about supporting you as you build strong foundations for your child’s future in different ways.

 

In light of this, there are many interesting, fun and engaging games that are perfect for developing a variety of skills in 3 to 5 year olds. If your child is in this age group, we invite you to sign up – at no charge – to receive developmental milestone reminders and information from us on a monthly basis, aimed at supporting children’s development in all domains. To benefit from this drive from this month until your child’s sixth birthday, please sign up here.

 

As an extra bonus, we are also adding a downloadable activity that is intentionally designed as a tool for parents of 3-5 year olds who want their children to get into the habit of reflecting on their highs and lows for the day.

Please follow this link to download your activity.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE. NESTLÉ® NANKID® 4 is not a breastmilk substitute, and is formulated to support the changing needs of healthy children older than 3 years.

Ogilvy January 2022

Recipe code: ZAJEPB017

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