Experiences for Resilience # 6

Create a mantra: Try. And try again.

Once your kids know that facing challenges, asking for help, and drawing on their strengths help build resilience, they need to remember to keep going whenever the going gets hard. Because in the heat of the moment, it is easy to forget everything we have learned, that we have strengths, that we have been successful before, and that we can be successful again. And when we do, we tend to give up, act out, or run away.

It is therefore important kids learn how to coach themselves, especially in the heat of the moment, that they can overcome any obstacle. It is helpful for them to practice a rote phrase, or mantra, that is meaningful to them to remind themselves they can keep going. For example, teach them the meaning of the Japanese proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight.” Or “Try, try again.” Or, my favourite, Nike’s “Just do it.”

Sometimes, for those kids who are so independent they struggle through things without ever asking for help, perhaps their mantra is about it being okay to ask for help. Find what mantra will best suit your kids.

Once they identify a mantra that works for them, it is critical to solidify it. The only way to do that is to go put it into practice. Repeated practice is essential so it becomes automatic whenever they are in midst of difficult situation. Have them repeat the mantra to themselves frequently throughout the day.

Then, put it into real practice. Find a challenging activity you know they won’t get right away but should after some guided support and/or practice. Let them experience that even though they didn’t get it right away, they are not a failure; they have learned how to not do it! The only way to truly fail is to give up. They are not failures and therefore do not need to give up. On the contrary, they are resilient, persistent kids. They can try again. And, ultimately, they can  get it.

This is the first step in having kids successfully coach themselves in tricky situations.

Move on to #7: Find a Lucky Charm

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