Mental resilience in children is something that both parents and teachers can certainly help to foster. Not only does mental resilience empower children to be bold and confident, they will also grow up to become adaptable problem solvers who aren’t afraid of challenges and will be more likely to develop a positive sense of self.

There is a common misconception that mental resilience in children gives them the green light to act tough, suppress their emotions, and act defiant. With that said, when the right habits and methods are applied to instil mental resilience in children, these issues will never be a cause for concern.

In fact, at Tots & Teddies, being resilient is a part of our 4R values that the school upholds and seeks to inculcate in our children. These include Resilient, Resourcefulness, Respect, and Righteousness.

We believe that when a child is resilient, he or she will be confident and not afraid of challenges, on top of having a positive sense of self. For example, we do not enforce school uniforms at the school as we would like to encourage the children to make decisions on what they would like to wear. We also encourage them to make their own decisions and learn from their mistakes, and support them in becoming better problem solvers.

On that note, here are several tips and tricks that you can use to help instil mental resilience in your kids:

Being reliable

The relationships that your children experience play a bigger role in their mental resilience than you may think. It is something that really requires nurturing, thus the presence of a supportive parent, caregiver, and teacher helps in this instance.

Showing up for the child is one thing, but it is also crucial to spend uninterrupted, quality time with the child to let them know that they are important enough for your sole attention. Listen to them, engage in conversation, chat about feelings, and encourage the child to also express theirs.

The goal here is to help children feel like they have a safe space to open up. Understandably, we all have busy schedules and it may seem impossible at times to carve out this time. That said, you can always make the most out of bath time, mealtimes, car journeys to and from school, and bedtimes.

Strength and endurance activities

Helping your child build grit and perseverance will serve them well in the long run as they get older. Therefore, things like sports, obstacle courses, and other class activities that involve their peers will most certainly help to stretch their endurance.

Outside of school, this may mean including the child in outdoor activities, such as an easy hike, swimming, biking, and jumping rope. At home, things like a short dance party, some star jumps, and even kid yoga can really benefit them.

You can also discuss a goal with them and then encourage them to achieve that goal. Besides helping them foster mental toughness, endurance activities such as these will also strengthen their mental state and relieve any stress they may have built up.

Quality sleep

Just like adults, children need quality sleep for their minds to function optimally, thus more mental reslience. A lack of good quality sleep in children can result in poor concentration, cognitive function, decision-making, and poor memory.

There are, of course, various ways you can help improve the sleep quality of your child. Limiting screen time before bed is one of them. Aside from that, being strict with bedtime and being consistent with it on the daily will leave a positive impact on their sleep quality.

Additionally, monitoring their sleep over time as a parent will also enable you to optimise their sleep. This can mean identifying certain habits throughout the day that may be affecting their sleep, and switching those out accordingly.

Delayed gratification

Mental resilience in children can also mean teaching them that you can’t always get what you want at a certain instance. Those who understand delayed gratification lead happier and healthier lives, and with children, it’s possible to help them defer pleasure and reward.

One way you can stimulate this skill is by playing board games with children, which requires impulse control, turn-taking, and mind flexibility. On top of that, there will be winners and losers at the end of the game. By being a good sport and model loser, you’ll be showing the child that it is okay to not come out on top all the time.

Other ways you can teach a child delayed gratification are things like learning a new sport, planting a seed, picking up a musical instrument, waiting for every family member to come around the table before commencing a meal, and even having to finish up their meal before being given a snack.

Learning gratitude

Having gratitude is an easy way for a child to build up mental resilience. Instead of focusing on the negatives from their day at school, teach them how to reframe their day and identify the positive bits and pieces instead.

Some simple questions you can ask your child include: “Tell me about one thing that has made you smile today.”, “Did you do anything to make someone else happy today?”, and “Is there anything new you learned today that you can share with me?”

Asking your child questions like these helps them find the positive in every situation, encourages them to stay optimistic in life, and teaches them to be more aware of kindness, regardless whether they’re the ones offering or receiving it.

Tots & Teddies

Tots & Teddies is a multi-award winning immersive-bilingual, full-day infant care and preschool centre located in Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD). We cater to discerning parents who want the best quality care for their infants from 2 months through to children under 7 years old.

Our learning environments are created carefully around your child so they feel safe, secure, fun and are able to respond freely. The environments help to spark curiosity and creativity in your child, invite exploration, manipulation, and a sense of discovery.

The classrooms have been designed to support your child’s character development through our thematic inquiry-based curriculum. Additionally, we feature a semi-open classroom concept where children from different age groups can socialise and learn from one another.

To ensure the holistic development of your child, bi-weekly trips to the Children’s Park at Gardens By The Bay are provided at no additional charge to parents. Alternatively, they also get to explore Art Playscape which is located at the National Gallery Singapore.

Parents play a critical role in their children’s lives so we partner closely with them to enhance the children’s learning. Daily updates are sent via our digital app, phone calls and email. We also invite parents to participate regularly in the children’s activities and hold half-yearly parents-teachers meetings as well as at our year-end open house.

Mental resilience in children

While we cannot keep our children in a bubble or hold their hands as they grow up, we can most definitely give them the valuable tool of resilience by not only modelling it for them, but also through these aforementioned habits.

Life can be confusing, disappointing, and challenging for children, but they need to be able to take these in stride, bounce back within a reasonable amount of time, and remain positive despite these challenges.

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