With this school year being so different from the rest, one of the most important skills your child can learn right now is resilience. It’s the ability to get up after you’ve fallen down; to handle tough situations and become a stronger person for it.
To assist you, Education.com’s parent guides go over ways you can help your child build their resilience. Parts four and five of these tools contain detailed information specific to your child’s grade level, from preschool to fifth grade. Here’s an overview of some of the topics our resources cover.
Set a sleep schedule
Research is clear that children are healthier and learn more when they get enough sleep. To make sure your child gets enough zzzs, set a regular schedule for bedtime that your family sticks to. Doing pre-bedtime tasks in the same order, like taking a bath, brushing teeth, and then reading a book, will establish a nightly ritual that cues your child that it’s time to simmer down and get ready for shuteye. Your child may also find a sense of comfort and security in the predictable routine. For help figuring out a good bedtime, our parent guides contain a handy table in part four showing suggested sleep schedules for children ages 5 to 11.
Limit screen time
Many children will sit glued to a screen if you let them, leaving less time for more valuable activities. Make rules about how long your kids can use electronic devices, as well as where they can use them (for example, only in the living room or never in the bedroom). Also, schedule physical activity and outdoor play first, and then use screen time as a way to relax. Just avoid using a device right before bedtime, as that can make it harder to fall asleep.
Additionally, sharing screen time with your child can make it more beneficial. Ask them questions about what they’re doing and encourage them to talk about their thought process. If they’re in 4th or 5th grade, talk to them about how to use technology responsibly and be a good digital citizen. Finally, research apps or games before letting your child play with them. There are a lot of funky apps out there and kids download the darndest things.
Assigning children duties they’re responsible for encourages independent thinking. For preschoolers these could include basic tasks such as getting dressed on their own or putting their toys away. As your kids get older, their responsibilities can expand to include household chores like loading the dishwasher and vacuuming. When giving children new responsibilities, be sure to explain how to do the task, offer lots of praise when they complete it, and allow them some leeway if they don’t do a perfect job. They’re still just a kid, after all.
If your child needs some motivation to take care of their responsibilities, you can try making a chore chart with tasks that you mark off with fun stamps or stickers to let them visualize their accomplishments. It can also help to offer your child several responsibilities they can choose from to give them ownership over their work.
Teach time management
Between school, homework, after-school activities, lessons, and chores, kids can wind up with packed schedules. Learning time management will help them stay on top of things as they grow, which can help to minimize stress. Start on the basics early and you’ll set them up for success when they eventually need to create their own schedules.
For children around 1st grade, start by showing them the basics of measuring time. One way to do this is by asking them to pick a fun activity to do for 30 minutes, and then setting a timer so they get a sense of what that time feels like. For older kids in 4th or 5th grade, teach them prioritization by helping them sort everything they have to do for the week into “must do” and “maybe” categories.
Laying the foundations for resilience now will help your child deal with the unexpected in the future. Now, head to parts four and five of Education.com’s parent guides to learn more!