As parents, we find ourselves juggling many things - from preparing breakfast to accomplishing school forms, to planning a playdate; or during this pandemic, from attending Zoom meetings while assisting the kids with their online classes, to thinking what to prepare in time for dinner. On most days, we would feel bad over the minutes spent cooking instead of building a Lego castle with our child. We have a mile-long list of things-to-do, yet it feels like we only have an inch of time on our hands. Nevertheless, during those hours that we attend to everyday responsibilities, we get surprised when a child shows us a beautiful drawing of a butterfly in a garden he made; or one day a child is no longer bothering us for a Nutella sandwich, instead she now makes it herself.
Yes, we may sometimes feel bad about not giving 1,440 minutes of our day to our children. However on the flip side, we are subtly teaching them responsibility and resilience. Carol Dweck explores the idea of Growth Mindset - we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and to solve problems. Growing takes time. Resilience takes T.I.M.E.
Tasks – having kids do age-appropriate chores is not just about letting them help around the house, but also teaches resilience and instills responsibility. As Michael Ungar puts it, director of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, “If I have kids at home, I’m going to make them do chores. It gives them a structure, expectations, an opportunity to make a contribution.”
Involvement – including your kids in household schedules or decisions helps regulate their expectations. Inform your kids you have a meeting at 8:00 a.m. so if they need something in the morning, then they will manage their time well by asking you earlier or later than your scheduled meeting.
Mindfulness – encouraging healthy response to stress or adversity also puts the break on negative thoughts and reactions, also helps children stay focused and calm. Walking in the forest, eating a meal, drawing, or doing breathing exercises together are some fun activities to encourage mindfulness in children.
Exploration – allowing children search for new possibilities, examining their feelings and expressing them appropriately. For instance your daughter cannot make a unicorn doll with you yet, meantime, she can fix the dress of her doll that has just been in the cabinet; or if your child is anxious about the current online class set-up, perhaps talk him through it and figure out together the why’s and how’s.
‘When adults seek help, it does not mean they are incompetent parents. The child may just require extra support in the areas of building self-esteem’ (Adventures, 2015), showing resilience, making good decisions, sustaining harmonious relationships, or regulating emotions that are beyond one’s parenting capacity.
At Fundamentals, children strengthen their emotional intelligence to transform their life’s journey toward long-term happiness.
(2015). "Special Report: How "life coaching for kids” is transforming the lives of children around the world - and how you can be a part of it. Adventures in Wisdom Inc.
Dweck, Carol. “Decades of Scientific Research that Started a Growth Mindset Revolution.” Mindset Works, https://www.mindsetworks.com/science/Default.
McGinn, Dave. “Chore Charts: How to Develop Resilience in Your Children.” The Globe and Mail, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-chore-charts-how-to-develop-resilience-in-your-children/.