Today, I’ll explore the importance of allowing children to experience and overcome distress to build resilience and character. Rather than constantly swooping in to protect them from every challenge, it’s essential to let them face some distress in manageable situations. By learning to be patient, complete tasks, and take on responsibility, children can develop the resilience and perseverance they’ll need as adults.
Here are 10 ideas to allow children to practice tolerating distress:
1. Encouraging children to wait in line: Allowing kids to experience waiting in line or taking turns can help them develop patience and resilience in dealing with delays and inconveniences.
2. Not doing their homework for them: Giving children the space to struggle with challenging homework and not providing immediate solutions can help them learn to overcome obstacles and develop problem-solving skills.
3. Encouraging children not to quit their commitments: Teaching kids the importance of following through on commitments, such as finishing a sports season or completing a project, can help them understand the value of perseverance and responsibility.
4. Assigning age-appropriate chores: Having children contribute to household chores can teach them the importance of responsibility, time management, and the satisfaction of completing tasks.
5. Allowing limited screen time: Limiting screen time and encouraging children to engage in other activities helps them build resilience to boredom and develop a range of interests.
6. Allowing natural consequences: Allowing children to experience the natural consequences of their actions (within safe boundaries) can help them learn responsibility and problem-solving skills.
7. Encouraging problem-solving without immediate help: Encouraging children to solve problems independently before seeking assistance can help them develop critical thinking skills and resilience.
8. Allowing for healthy competition: Engaging children in healthy competition, whether in sports or games, can help them learn to cope with winning and losing, and develop resilience in the face of setbacks.
9. Encouraging open communication: Creating a safe space for children to express their emotions and discuss their struggles can help them develop emotional resilience and problem-solving skills.
10. Teaching time management skills: Helping children learn to manage their time effectively, such as setting priorities and meeting deadlines, can prepare them for handling stress in the future.
These strategies can help parents support their children in developing resilience and tolerance for stress, preparing them to navigate life’s challenges with confidence and adaptability.
Here is a scale you can use to help kids identify their own level of distress: