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Activities and games for building resilience in Children

COVID-19 pandemic had been really hard on all of us, especially on our children. Agreed? Building resilience has become the need of the hour to sail through the tough times.

With online classes, the absence of a physical school environment, and socializing opportunities for the most part in the last two years. These uncertain changes have taken a toll on children’s mental health. The focus is now more on preparing the children to handle such unpredictable situations and cope with the changes. There is more emphasis on developing emotional regulation and life skills in kids amongst the parent community without engaging them in screens.

What is resilience exactly?

“Building resilience in children is not about making them tough. Resilience is the ability to recover from difficulties and manage how you feel” . Resilience building is also associated with numerous other soft skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, communication, stress management which are very essential for their future.

Why should you focus on building resilience for kids?

Early childhood is a pivot phase in every individual’s life as the experiences underwent by the child become a part of their character. If your Kids experience good emotional response and modeling of positive behaviors, they become emotionally healthy adults.

How to develop resilience in young children?

In the early years, toddlers and preschoolers learn more through play. They can absorb core skills for emotional regulation too that this phase. This is a great chance to guide your child to develop resilience.

Here are some resilience-building activities that you can do with your children to help them develop a healthy attitude towards life and make them emotionally intelligent individuals. Not to forget, you can enjoy these screen-free activities with your children as a family.

1. Musical chairs

This classic game is a favorite for both adults and kids alike. Kids learn that it’s okay to lose sometimes and still have fun while playing. They also develop social skills such as cheering for others and empathy.

How to play?

  • Arrange the chairs in a circle. If there are ‘n’ members in the group, there must be ‘n-1’ chairs. 

  • Let the music play! And STOP!! 

  • Whoever doesn’t have a chair to sit when the music stops has to leave the game and spectate. 

  • Also one chair has to be removed for each round. 

  • Repeat the game until there is only one chair at the end.

2. Board games

Playing turn-taking board games like Monopoly, Snake and ladders, Ludo, etc., as a family or with friends is a great choice to build resilience in your child. They develop more patience and social skills as they learn to wait for their turn.

In addition to this, playing board games also help your children to learn the following, 

  • Recovering from minor setbacks and moving on, which is the core of resilience. 

  • Problem solving 

  • Teamwork

3. Give a Compliment

Kindness is the mother of all virtues. Appreciating others, celebrating their success, and trusting them are crucial to building resilience. Children learn to trust people around them and ask for help when they face hardships. This activity is an excellent way to build that connection with you.

How to do this activity?

  • Make the family members or peers to sit in a circle. 

  • Give a piece of cloth to the kid and play music or sing a song.

  • Ask your child to go around the circle as the music keeps playing. 

  • Once the music stops playing, the child has to drop the cloth on someone who is near to him/her and they have to give a compliment about the person. For example, “What do you like the most about dad?” 

  • Once they have given the compliment, the chain has to continue with the person who received the compliment and now it’s their turn to repeat the game.

4. Obstacle race

Activities that challenge your child favor developing resilience and other life skills. Kids love challenging activities. We bet this game would be their all-time favorite as they get to work on their gross motor skills along with having endless fun. Prop some pillows, draw some circles, let them climb, jump, crawl and run.

What does my kid learn with obstacle race? 

  • Problem solving 

  • Eagerness to try new challenging things 

  • Risk taking 

  • Learning safety

5. Meditation

Age: 3years+

Stress reduction is a vital part of building resilience. Doing mediation helps you to have control over your thoughts. Children as young as 4 years old begin to develop their sense of self And hence they can begin with meditation or practicing mindfulness right from that age.

Kids who begin to meditate early in their childhood can have a better response to managing stress and good decision- making capabilities. They can regulate their emotions well and have higher emotional intelligence.

Check out this page on Headspace which has the best meditation practices for kids. Your preschooler might not sit in the same place for a long time but you can always sow the seeds and model so that she can ease into practice later on.

Encouraging your child with risky play regularly and giving them appropriate praise helps them develop a positive image and promote the ability to be resilient. When children have self-confidence, they can approach uncertain situations with more clarity. It’s our duty as parents to prepare them for life ahead, which is beyond the textbooks.

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