How to Help Your Students Build Resilience

Child Smiling — The Online Learning Platform for Busy Teachers & Parents

Athletes are all too familiar with the challenges that come with having to run a tough race. Racing hearts, excessive sweating and having trouble breathing are just some of the effects of exerting their bodies in this way. Being physically strong and fit will ensure that these symptoms slow down and disappear quite naturally, and the athlete is able to bounce back comfortably to face more challenges in the sport. Non-athletes or those who are not particularly fit, however, will find that the changes in the physical body during exercise extremely difficult to recover from.

You see, they have not yet developed the resilience needed to bounce back and recover effectively.

In a similar way, our students face many challenges and obstacles as they grow and are faced with what life has to offer. Children who have been taught the skill of resilience, are able to bounce back from stress, challenges, tragedy, trauma, and adversity in more effective ways than children who do not know how to be resilient.

Resilient children are more adaptable, have greater courage and are more curious when facing the world around them.

Consider the following helpful tips in assisting your students in developing the much-needed life skill of resilience:

  1. Whether you notice or not, your students will imitate your behaviours. How resilient are you? How do you handle stress, anxiety, disappointment and frustration? Are you able to look at daily challenges as learning opportunities and seek to find effective solutions or do you tend to feel like a victim of circumstances? How do you respond to your student’s behaviours and choices? Seek to build your own capacity of resilience- your students are watching and learning from you.
  2. Teach your students that it is okay to fall, fail, feel hurt or disappointed. It is also okay to ask for help. Let them know that you have experienced many of these emotions and that you are there to support and encourage them as they navigate their way forward.
  3. Acknowledge and own the tough-stuff. Non-judgmental communication is key to building trust, sincere connection and self-esteem. Assist your students in breaking challenges into bite-size manageable pieces. You may even be able to offer a different perspective to challenges and obstacles.
  4. Allow your students to find their own solutions to some problems. With your support and encouragement, you will be surprised at how they have the capacity to figure it out! This builds confidence and self-worth which is essential to developing resilience.
  5. Let your students know that they can and must trust themselves to solve problems and get back on to their feet again! Teach them to face the problem and to seek to find an effective way to navigate it.
  6. Exercise and healthy eating are essential to build healthy bodies and minds- which, in turn, creates a sense of confidence and determination to show resilience in the face of obstacles. Have conversations where you discuss how your students can make better health-related choices for themselves.

Just as you need to be running fit to bounce back from a tough race, so too, do you need to be resilient-fit to rise effectively from stress, anxiety, trauma, disappointment and hurt. Life can be tough. Resilient students are just tougher!