The next time you think about the easy life your kids must be having in comparison to yours, you should think again. Your kid’s life may not be as stress-free as you think - school assignments and tests, making friends outside of their ‘comfort zone, constant need to absorb new information and dealing with schoolyard bullying. What will help your kids get through all these life obstacles is knowing that encountering challenges in life is inevitable but having the skills to bounce back when life gives you Lemon is what will make them into resilient kids. We’ve come up with the top 6 tips on how to transform your kids into natural problem solvers.
Teach your kids practical, concrete skills
In order for your kids to overcome life’s many obstacles ahead of them - big or small, it is essential that you teach them practical life skills from a young age. Start by creating scenarios and guide your kids on how to deal with them. For example, the next time you take your kids on a family camping trip, teach your kids how to read a map, prepare a meal the old fashion way, how to use a compass. You can also make everyday tasks into little life lessons - if you have a shy kid, encourage them to order their own food the next time you take them out for dinner or have them asks for directions on how to get to a new, unfamiliar place.
Engage with school community
School plays an important role in your child’s life, so it is important for them to feel like they belong as this will have a big impact on their sense of self and belonging. Encourage your kids to consult with their teachers or asks for support from their peers if they come across issues that cannot be resolve on their own. If your kid has an area of interest that they would like to pursuit - be it art, music or sports, have them join a club at school. Kids that feel comfortable and connected with others at school tend to not only perform better academically, they’ve been shown to also have the skills to overcome problems on their own.
Help them develop strong friendships outside of school
Although school forms a big part of your kid’s life, it is also important for them to make friends with other children outside of school. This is an important step in your child’s life because it is asking them to do things outside of their ‘comfort zone’. Making friends at school with other kids that they see on a day-to-day basis shouldn’t be a challenge but making friends with people outside of school requires greater courage and effort. Suggests for your kid to join community groups like the YMCA or the local youth associations to start building a strong network of supporting friends from a young age.
Let your kids make mistakes
I know it’s hard to step aside and see your kids make mistakes but this is an essential part of growing up. No pain, no gain. If you don’t let your kids make mistakes on their own then they are unlikely to ever learn the consequences involved of their own actions. Something as simple as not helping to do house chores could lead to the consequence of them having to stay home to get them done over the weekend while the rest of the family is out enjoying themselves. So, think twice the next time you decides to baby your children!
Teach them to problem solve on their own
It is easy to provide your kids with all the answers to every single problems in life because chances are, you already know the answers to them. However, you should refrain from giving your kids the easy way out as doing so means that they will miss out on essential opportunities to work out the problems by themselves. Simple kids activities like building a puzzle, playing chess or learning to build something by hand from scratch can all contribute towards a child’s problem solving skills.
Help them to manage their emotionsExplain to your kids that it is fine to make mistakes as long as they are not projecting their frustration towards other people and that they must have the spirit to carry on even when life gives them lemons. Explain to your child that it is ok to feel angry and sad, as long as they understand not to carry on these feelings and instead, think through what they should do better next time to improve the outcome of a similar situation.
Our ActiveActivities directory have more ideas on kids activities that helps to build self confidence, awareness, communication and problem solving skills that all contribute towards the making of a happy, confident and resilient child.
Lauren has two very excitable school age kids, as well as a full time corporate career. She manages to juggle the two roles and (mostly) maintain her sanity with the help of her ever-supportive partner. Lauren particularly loves cycling, as well as taking nourishing breaks in quieter parts of New Zealand. She lives with her family in Auckland and began blogging for ActiveActivities recently.