Helping Children Build Resilience During Uncertain Times

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During times of uncertainty, parents want to protect their children from witnessing the fear and uncertainty brought by the pandemic. The wish of every parent is they could take away the disruption to their education, activities, and relationships. No one can control these circumstances, but we can work to strengthen our relationships during this time while building our children’s resilience. The best way to protect our children is to shape the lessons gained during this difficult time. We do so best when we intentionally manage​​ our feelings and experiences to help them build resilience. Below are some of the feelings many of us are experiencing. ​

1. Learning self-forgiveness​

Know that if you forgive yourself and focus on the good in yourself now through self-compassion, your child will learn to be a bit gentler with themselves.

2. Learning to empathize

​One of the most respectful things we can do is understand someone’s point of view. The best way for children to gain this perspective is by benefitting from it first-hand. You build their empathy for others by working to understand their behaviors thoughts, and feelings.

3. Processing and releasing emotions

​A time of uncertainty with heightened emotions is the time to show that emotions are not to be ignored. Our children must learn from us that having emotions is good, talking about them is essential and being honest with them is healing. 

4. Creating a haven within our homes​

You can love your child and still sometimes want to tear your hair out. We all have bad days when the stress load is high. We cannot control the outside world, but we create sanctuaries within our homes. With peace in our homes, we can better handle the outside world.

5. Being a calming presence for others

In moments when the future is unclear and our minds begin racing toward worse-case scenarios, the presence of a reassuring voice makes all the difference. ​

6. Maintaining physical health strengthens emotional health​

Strong bodies support our minds to best navigate the circumstances we confront. 

7. Stay present and live in reality ​

Uncertainty can make our minds race to the worst possible outcome. Young people can assume the worst because they have not yet had the experience to know that crises come and go. 

8. Finding what you can do​

Few things create discomfort more than feeling like there is too much to do or nothing you can do at all. Few things restore comfort more than tackling what you can. Don’t accept failure or disappointment as permanent but instead view setbacks as opportunities to try yet again. ​

9. Learning to let go​

Stay compassionate, strong, and healthy. Take care of those who are vulnerable. Let family members know they are precious. Do what it takes to keep a roof over your head and food on the table. Everything else can wait. ​

10. Find joy, give service, and maintain purpose​

Help your children see the difference they can make in others’ lives and how good it feels to give service. This may enhance their resilience because they’ll learn the joy of giving. More importantly, they’ll learn there is no pity in receiving. ​

11. Relationships strengthen us​

This is a generational defining moment. If this generation learns that when times get tough, people unify. It will be the generation that can lead us into a better-shared future one in which we hold those we love nearer and offer those who are vulnerable the extra support they deserve. ​

Uncertainty is frightening, but knowing that we are not alone to figure it out brings comfort. Any individual alone is vulnerable, but joined together we are stronger than the combination of each of our strengths. People together can take turns drawing strength from others and being a source of strength. We will get through this when we come together.