What Schools are Doing to Help Build Resilience & How You Can Help

It is easy to look back on your own childhood with nothing but fond memories of time spent playing outdoors with friends or on vacation with family, but we often forget just how challenging childhood can be. In a period of constant – and sometimes traumatic – change, learning to build personal resilience is an essential tool for your child’s present and future.

While your child or teen is likely experiencing challenges both at school and at home, there are several effective approaches that can help manage those challenges and move forward with a renewed sense of self.

Strength-Based Approach

Rather than trying to fix what a particular student is doing wrong, the strength-based approach focuses on fostering what they are doing right. Teachers, counsellors, administrators and parents should take advantage of a student’s existing strengths and positive qualities with an intention to promote their personal sense of wellbeing and resilience.

Resiliency models for schools and learning centres often include a similar chain of actions, such as teaching, supporting, referring, partnering and finally, leading by example.

Promote Physical Health & Creativity

While physical education classes and sports can often be the ‘match to the fire’ for teenage bullies, it’s crucial for schools to teach the importance of physical education and the impact it can have on physical, mental and emotional health. In addition, parents can take this a step further with an at-home self-care routine, from getting enough sleep to eating properly to reserving time for rest and time away from technology.

Similarly, encouraging students to take time out specifically for the purpose of being creative – whether that means writing, playing music, taking photos, drawing, building something, etc. – has been shown to increase motivation and allow opportunities for self-discovery.

Stress & Time Management

One of the most useful tools for building resiliency in schools is highlighting the importance of stress and time management and subsequently offering resources for those who are struggling. With assignment deadlines, imminent exams, social events, work commitments and family obligations often looming over the minds of our children, learning how to effectively manage their time can go a long way in terms of positive emotional health.

Schools can help students gain a sense of control over their life by providing counselling services, ample group and individual study areas, after-hours study assistance and more, all of which promote self-efficacy and problem solving.

At home, parents can further encourage time management by talking through it with your child or even setting aside a time where you sit down together and prioritise both your schedules – allowing them to see it as a life tool utilised by successful adults rather than a punishment being inflicted on them.

Positive Social Connections

Schools can assist with resilience by fostering positive social connections between staff members and students. Whilst professionalism should always remain at the forefront, establishing a certain level of trust goes a long way for both teachers and administrators. When students can be honest about their issues and approach a staff member who they know is willing to help, there’s less of a chance of them rebelling due to a misunderstanding that could have been easily avoided through simple, open communication.

This is also true for parents. Children and teens are far more likely to confide in you if they feel comfortable doing so and being able to trust that you will provide a listening ear rather than punishment can significantly help this process.

Resilience in the Home

Parents can assist in resilience of their teens by making home a ‘safe space,’ meaning one in which they feel comfortable expressing their emotions and thoughts without fear of negative repercussions. Help your teen feel validated by reminding them of their achievements – no matter how small – and nurturing a positive self-view. Teach them how to laugh at themselves and see their daily actions with a bit of perspective and impart the values of optimistic thinking and hopefulness.

Lastly, be sure to schedule plenty of family time, also including any friends who have had a positive impact on your child.

Be sure to contact us for more information about our Junior Leadership Programs or Parental Guidance Workshops, we look forward to assisting you and your teen create a happier, healthier, more resilient future.

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