Building resilience, the ability to endure and recover from hardship, is a personal skill that can serve you throughout your life. Resilience appears in many forms such as pain endurance, stress management, and mental stability. There have been many studies done on resilience at this point. What most of these studies show is that the classical thoughts on resilience, that it was an inherited trait set at birth, were mistaken. Resilience can be cultivated and built upon. Humans have shown an enormous ability to adapt, change and eventually overcome a multitude of dangerous and challenging situations.
Resilient people, especially children, have also been shown to be more adept at navigating social situations, including stressful and potentially dangerous ones. Situational awareness, both social and otherwise, is paramount to staying safe at every age and can make the difference in a wide range of situations ranging from medical emergencies to physical attacks, to natural disasters.
The earlier you learn resilience, the earlier you will be able to understand and overcome life’s challenges. Building resilience, especially when young, can be difficult though. Building tolerance to trials and difficulties requires a certain amount of trials and difficulties. Cultivating resilience in a child or young adult means locating safe options where a child can be challenged and pushed under experienced supervisors.
To help parents and young adults find suitable options with which to cultivate resilience, we have compiled a list of our favorite resilience-building activities.
1) Martial Arts
Martial arts helps build physical ability and mental confidence. Martial training puts you up against adversity using methods that have been used effectively for centuries to build confidence. Both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai are used all over the globe to teach children how to use their bodies and how to push themselves mentally.
Children who train martial arts are presented with challenges and obstacles on a constant basis. Over time, they learn to adapt to and operate within that stressful state. This leads to improved decision making and physical ability in moments of conflict or danger.
Improving your child’s balance, coordination, strength, and power – as well as the mental challenges – gives them the building blocks to take on whatever else life throws at ‘em.
2) Structured chores
Naturally, children don’t enjoy doing chores. Children see chores as boring and annoying. They see chores as something that eats into their free time, taking them away from all the fun things they could be doing. A regular schedule of meaningful chores can, however, help instill resilience in a child.
By doing chores, children learn to accept that sometimes in life you have to do things you don’t enjoy. They learn to make the best of a situation and do the task to their best ability. By understanding the importance of a chore, they develop resilience by working hard and pushing through until the task is done.
By having a regular schedule of chores children get to regularly work on and improve upon their resiliency and work ethic.
3) Community Service and Participation
Understanding that you have a role to play in the community gives one a self of purpose and can be used as a source of motivation. Both of these are important in trying times. Make an effort to do community service activities that show a tangible benefit. Plant some trees or donate food to those who need it – make sure the child is heavily involved in the action and understands that problem they are contributing to fight against.
Actions like this serve to reinforce a child’s ability to take on problems and make a real effect on the world. This is guiding and motivational. It also exposes them to the realities of the world and may show them people that are less fortunate than them. They will see examples of people having to be resilient to survive. It will instill in them the idea that resilience is an important trait to have.
4) Teach Self-Care and Independence
Let a child know the importance of taking care of oneself and scheduling a time to achieve goals. Proper hygiene, exercise, and adequate rest. An appropriate schedule reduces stress and increases confidence. Allowing a child to make some choices within those parameters will also allow them to grow more confident in their ability to make decisions.
Teaching context and long-term thought will also help build confidence and independence. Show that there is something beyond the current date and things to look forward to and plan for.
All of this together will help your child feel overall better about their ability to take care of themselves and understand what is best for their own well being.
5) Learn a Skill, Have an Outlet
Having a way to channel your emotions and focus your energy is perhaps the most important thing for maintaining proper balance in life. Adequate balance like this can provide benefits ranging from a reduction in emotional/poor decision making to appropriate stress management. The long-term and short-term benefits of a reliable outlet are numerous.
Probably one of the best examples of a proper outlet is something we already covered, the martial arts. The martial arts is great for a number of reasons that go beyond having an outlet, but it is an excellent example of something that requires both physical and mental effort. Having something that you are continually trying to get better at and taxes both your brain and body will make you much much more suited to handle the struggles of life.
Other sports, hobbies, and activities can all be leveraged to benefit your child. As long as there are some challenges, competition and struggles it will ultimately help them overcome problems in the future. Make sure they also learn to balance these activities with a healthy lifestyle. – spending 6 hours or more a day on a hobby or activity should be rare outside of high-level competitions.
Find an activity your child enjoys and encourage them to improve at it. Give them opportunities to push and test themselves.
6) Teach Self Motivation
It is easy to try hard when someone is watching; the trick is to do so all the time. Helping your child to understand the importance of effort and long-term thinking feeds directly into allowing them to learn to self-motivate. With self-motivation, they will begin to form their own goals and will strive to achieve them. People who set and accomplish their own goals are among the hardiest and most resilient people you will find.
Do not let your child make excuses, hold them accountable for their promises and statements, and ensure they understand the benefit of hard work.
So no matter if it’s BJJ or Muay Thai, martial arts is perhaps the best place to start for helping your child build confidence and lifelong resilience. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a trial class and begin their journey today!
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