Experiences for Resilience # 4

Highlight Strengths

Now that your child fully understands that building resilience means facing challenges and asking for/receiving help, you can now talk about a third key ingredient: Using our personal strengths.

When the hero receives support, heroes then makes the choice to push forward by drawing on their personal strengths. Harry Potter’s strengths of love, kindness, bravery, loyalty, and justice likely helped him face Voldemort (and other’s support helped him survive each incident).

With all of the coaching and encouragement he received from Timothy, Dumbo then drew from his strengths of determination, belief in himself, and wanting to make his mom proud to finally be able to fly on his own.

Go back through your stories and mindmaps and highlight the personal strengths the heroes had that helped them in the story. Not just the things they achieved, but the personal strengths that helped them overcome challenges. Perhaps they were optimistic. Or able to stay cool rather than lose their temper. Or a good friend. Or persistent.

Then, of course, have your kids highlight their own personal strengths. You can use this personal strengths board to help them generate ideas. Get poster paper and write or draw – all the strengths your child has. Perhaps they are kind. Creative. Helpful. Keep adding to the chart regularly and especially when they have faced something difficult. How did they manage that? What strengths did they draw from? Those are key opportunities to reinforce the idea of resilience.

Discuss how your kids used those strengths to overcome the challenges in their lives. Get very specific. What did they learn that can help them in the future? What strengths can help them in the future? As your kids add new strengths, continue to have them talk about how each one has helped them in the past and can help them in the future.

Highlighting key strengths and making it visual is important to help your kids remember all of the strengths they have, because it is easy to forget that we have any strengths at all when we are challenged. This board is also important for other activities to come.

Work together. Maybe even do your own strengths board at the same time; after all, we all have challenges we need to face and strengths we need to draw from. Feel free to use this template of strength-based characteristics, but also remember to include activities and interests your child has.

Move on to #5: Making connections between strengths and challenges

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