By Lauren Price, M.Ed
Life doesn't always go the way we want. I know this first hand. Can your kids handle the big challenges that will inevitably come their way?
As adults, we often think we are helping by solving their problems, fixing a situation, or giving advice. However, what we are doing is robbing them of the opportunity to build a new pathway in their brain. The more children practice with the small things, the stronger the neural pathways are to handle the big ones. In my 20 years of working with students, I have had and seen some anti-resilience requests, such as doing homework for a student, writing papers, or creating their study guides/notes. I have even had a request one time to take a college class for a student!
The good news is that you can start teaching strategies early so that it doesn't lead to this! Allow your children to believe in their abilities so they don't lose the motivation to complete tasks independently.
Here are some small things young ones can do.
Ages 2-4 --> Have your child pick new foods to try!
We all know kids (or at least most) do not like change. They like chicken fingers and pasta, but that doesn't do the job. Let them pick new foods from the produce section and cook it together. This will encourage love of trying new things, while also building a neural pathway.
Ages 5-10 --> Have your child set their morning routine!
The night before, ask your children what they need in the morning. Mornings in my house can be a beatdown. However, when Sawyer the Slow (this is what we call my youngest) preps on his own the night before, he is up, ready, and proud of himself the following morning. With his extra time, he even makes eggs for himself and his brother. He beams with pride when his brother praises him for breakfast, building a positive neural pathway!
I hope your kids or students don't face the kinds of challenges that mine have at such a young age, but you never know what life will throw at them; help them prepare for it by not doing it for them.
Feel free to use the handout (attached below) to help guide your students to become resilient and independent young humans.