Children are much more likely to bounce back from a negative experience if they already have the building blocks in place to help them cope.
Research shows children are more likely to develop coping skills if they: trust that the world is safe and caring people will help them; believe in their ability to do things for themselves; feel valued for who they are; feel optimistic; and can manage their feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
Try these strategies to help bolster your child’s ability to deal with emotionally-trying situations:
- Arrange a fun child-friendly activity each week like a trip to the park, play date with a friend or watching a favourite movie. Regular ‘ups’ provide a bank of positive emotions to buffer against life’s ‘downs’ that may involve disappointment or conflict.
- Help your kids to think positively. If your child is frustrated by a difficult puzzle, say, "I know that puzzle was hard today, but yesterday I saw you get a hard puzzle out. You kept trying until you found the right place to put the pieces."
- If you have a disagreement with your child, the most important thing to do is to reconnect and repair the relationship. Let your little one cool down then offer a hug or words of support. This has benefits for your child’s mental health as well as their ability to deal with relationship problems as they get older.
You may like to read more about supporting children to develop resilience.