We all know that growing up is no easy task. Kids are navigating social situations, learning new skills, and experimenting with boundaries all the time.
With three kids myself, I’ve wondered how to build them up. How to make them feel confident, kind, and strong. Like most parents, I want my kids to grow up as resilient and happy people. But how can I make sure that happens? What tools can I provide them to help them grow into who they have the potential to be?
Here are five ways that I’ve found to teach habits, skills, and character traits that will serve them for the rest of their lives. Perhaps you’ve discovered these amazing activities too. If you have, let me know in the comments!
The best way for kids to believe they are strong, kind, or capable is to tell them. And have them tell themselves.
It’s why we came up with a big list of kids affirmations for them to say. What you say to yourself affects every single action you take in LIFE. For example, if your child believes he or she is a good friend, he/she will strive to be one. If they think they’re a person that loves challenges, they’ll handle obstacles much differently than someone who feels defeated by them. It’s important that our thoughts are positive as both adults and kids.
Next, instilling a sense of purpose, responsibility, and teamwork in kids is a SUPER important trait of resilience. In our home, we do this with routine checklists and chore charts, but there are many different ways to make sure kids are contributing to the household. Have them cook, teach them laundry, or make sure they understand that doing well in school is an important goal. The more opportunities you provide now, the better they will handle responsibilty and teamwork later in life.
3. A Growth Mindset
Do your kids make mistakes? Do they understand the opportunity that lies in a problem?
If not, check out these activities that encourage a growth mindset and will help them think about learning and failures in an entirely new way. They include getting out of your comfort zone as a family, positive self-talk, and great books that remind us all that it’s ok to mess up.
*The growth mindset can be particularly difficult for kids (or adults) that are perfectionists!
4. Make Traditions Important
Annual, monthly, or weekly traditions are about making the space to spend time together. By making traditions a large part of your family life, you’re conveying to kids that they are important. So, play that annual April Fool’s joke, make a fancy family Valentine’s Day dinner every year, and create your own weekly family nights.
Not only will these be memories you hold dear for decades, but you’ll be teaching kids how to love, be loved, and enjoy life.
Finally, as a society, there’s a push to put kids in every activity under the sun. But what happened to the value of free play? That’s when creativity and imagination actually take hold. So, when in doubt, get kids off the electronics or out of an activity that makes everyone feel stressed, and have them play outside. Before you know it, they’ll be telling you about this completely made-up game they created or a fabulous new invention they are building.
There you have it! Have kids do free play, enagage in rituals and traditions, provide opportunities for responsibility, encourage a growth mindset, and try out affirmations to build your kids into amazing young people.
What about you? Have you found anything particularly helpful in building up your kids? I’d love to know!