My last two blogs have been about building resilience in kids. Resilient kids can deal with things when they do not go their way, and they recover quickly when things do not go well for them. Part 1 on resilience explains that children need an adult in their life whom they feel they can go to for help when needed. Part 2 discusses the importance of helping children take responsibility for their own actions. Today’s blog shows how important it is for children to contribute to the world in which they live.
When children are able to offer their help to others, whether at home or elsewhere, they learn that they are important. Whatever they contribute needs to be genuinely helpful to others, and they need to be reminded that they are helping. Depending on how old your child is, he may be able to contribute in multiple ways.
Here are a few ideas to try.
- Allow her to help with the shopping. Kids enjoy helping to find things in the store or online. This really saves you time, and most kids enjoy it a lot.
- Require him to help with the laundry. Kids are quite capable of doing laundry well. I used to think every item had to be washed and folded perfectly. At some point along the way, I realized that it really doesn’t matter for most things! And, with a few instructions on how to load and run the machines, fairly young kids can be extremely helpful. (My own children started doing laundry at 8 years old.)
- Go with her to help out at the local food bank or soup kitchen. Many kids do not understand that there are many people who are living in poverty and who barely have enough to eat. It is a great opportunity to talk to her about respect, as well. (Just because a person is needy does not mean they are less intelligent or less important to society. And everyone deserves to be treated with respect.)
There are myriad ways your child can be helpful to the family or society. When they contribute in important ways, they feel necessary. Caring for others creates a sense of pride and builds self-esteem, both of which are necessary in resilient children. As well, offering genuine praise will build your relationship with your child, which is also an important factor in resilience. If you would like to read more about this topic, you might enjoy Building Resilience in Children, published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.