As parents we want our children to grow up to be healthy and resilient, both physically and emotionally. Teaching your kids these habits will help them to do exactly that but like anything else they need to be taught about them and see you as the adult modelling them. We often put a lot of effort into teaching our kids physical skills, like riding a bike, throwing and catching a ball or skipping but it’s easy to overlook these emotional habits that will help them to be resilient and handle some of the tough times they may need to face.
It’s a choice we all face daily, we can choose to concentrate on what we have or on what we lack. It might seem tough some days but developing a habit of gratitude helps us to focus on the positive which can make us happier and more optimistic. This short video called The Gratitude Jar is worth a watch and although it focuses on a classroom setting but it can easily be recreated at home – either in a jar or on a board.
Many adults still struggle to manage emotions so it can never be too early to start teaching children about emotions. Emotions and feelings happen in response to a stimulus of some sort which may be come from the environment, fear caused by an animal that we think is a threat for example, so the emotions involve a mental state and a physiological one.
The first step is to develop a shared language so you can talk to your children about their emotions and feelings. Identifying feelings or emotional states such as anger, happiness, excitement, or anxiety, and of course there are many more is a good place to start. Then you can talk about the experience of that feeling and how you can manage it. For example if you feel angry then explaining why or telling someone might help, but so might do something active. The aim is to help children to have a growing understanding of how they can regulate themselves, seeking support when they need to, so they are not overwhelmed by the feelings.
Looking after Themselves
So as children are growing it is important that they develop the right habits of self-care. Eating a healthy diet, and taking part in regular exercise can help keep our bodies healthy but learning skills to manage stress, anxiety or other emotions is also a way we can take care of ourselves. Simple things learning to recognise the signs of being tired or that something is worrying us and knowing what to do are skills that will be helpful throughout life.
One of the great things about being kind is that no only does it help the person on the receiving end but it is good for the person being kind too. Evidence shows that helping other is good for our own health and wellbeing. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/doing-good-does-you-good Teaching children that it is good to be considerate and help others and helping them build these habits of kindness will stand them in good stead for their own future and if we all do it we can really contribute something good to the world.
It’s ok to Make Mistakes
Whether it’s a physical or cognitive skill we learn best when we ate stretched and have to move outside of our comfort zone. One of the risks is that we make a mistake, or fail. But that is an important part of learning so help children see that as an opportunity. The important thing is how we respond so encourage children to keep trying even if something is hard and help them build the belief that they can achieve what they set their minds to and not give up as soon as things get difficult. The habit is not in making the mistake or failing in some way but in responding positively to the opportunity that brings for further learning and growth.
Take time when children are small to gradually teach then these habits and the value of them to help build their resilience.
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