These final 5 strategies are great for the whole family! The activities will not only bring you closer together, like volunteering, but will also result in less stress and a cleaner house!
One of the best things any of us can do for our mental health is to focus on serving others. What better way to bounce back from our own struggles than to connect with others and do what we can to make someone else’s life a little brighter. There are so many ways to “volunteer”, whether through your church, the local nursing or retirement homes, or shelters.
I know this is tougher with young children, but I found many things to do with my kids: write to servicemen, cook for the homeless that our church shelters once per week, make blankets for moms or babies, bring food or craft items to our older neighbors, perform for or play games with residents at nursing homes, random acts of kindness.
Volunteering builds Compassion, Connection, Confidence, and Character.
2. Give Them 'Chores' or 'Tasks' That Contribute to the Family.
Explain that you are all a team and that everyone has to do their part. We did not believe in paying our kids for basic chores as it was/is their contribution to our family. However, we would give them opportunities to do chores that were above and beyond to earn some money.
When your kids are younger, they will want to help you; take full advantage of this time! It is important that you come alongside your kids so that you can teach them how to do the job right. As I talked about in my previous blog, it may take longer, but patience now will pay off later.
When they fall short, explain how that affects everyone else in the house, and make sure that they are seeing YOU do your chores, too. :)
As my kids got older and interacted with their peers, they were actually surprised at how few of them had chores, or knew how to do their own laundry, or cook dinner for the family. Of course, they joked about how they were “slave labor”, and we would tease them that we didn’t need a new dishwasher because we already had 4 of them. Lol!
Yet, they also thank us for empowering them and giving them the confidence that they can take care of themselves.
This builds Competence, Character, Confidence, and allows your kids to be in Control of themselves and their environment.
3. Encourage Them to Start a Business
There are so many positives to helping your child start a business, including most of the seven ‘Cs’ of building resilience! It also allows kids to be creative, build people skills, learn valuable practical skills like handling money, inventory, supply and demand, and so much more!
Our daughter is the most introverted of our children and was painfully shy when she was younger. She took a jewelry making class and was hooked! She decided that she wanted to sell her jewelry to make some money. She designed her own business cards, practiced what she would say to people when they approached her, brainstormed where she could sell and approached people to allow her to sell.
Starting her own business helped her to face her fears, developed her communication skills, and helped her persevere through difficulties. All of our kids have had their own small business and although none of them are entrepreneurs (yet!), they have learned to have a wealth mentality and are confident that they can create wealth.
I highly recommend the book The Big Startup Guidebook for Kids, A Principle-based Approach to Entrepreneurship if you are not an entrepreneur yourself or want a step-by-step approach that your kids can walk through with you.
Another phenomenal resource that can give your children a place to sell their wares is an Acton Children’s Business Fair near you! https://www.childrensbusinessfair.org/
We should all recognize when we need to slow down and focus on our own wellbeing. Helping your kids understand what to do when the world seems out of control, when they feel sad or mad, or how they can muster up more energy is something that will stay with them the rest of their lives.
Some coping mechanisms in our house are getting outside for a walk or change of scenery, listening to music, reading, watching a favorite movie, taking time away by ourselves, having a good cry, having a good laugh, and listening/talking it out.
Finding coping mechanisms that calms, soothes, or energizes us is a vital life skill that is directly related to our resilience. There will be tough times, sad circumstances, and frustrations, but if your kids know that it is OK to do what helps them cope when they are feeling anxious, scared, or overwhelmed - that is the very definition of resilience.
5. Make Yourself Available to Them
This is especially true for your teens and young adult children.
Kids don’t want to feel ‘lectured’ to as they get older, especially if you’ve taught them to think for themselves. They do, however, still want guidance, security, and love. If you are ‘there’ when they need to share, or as things happen in their lives, you will be able to provide those things, and grow closer to your children.
Listening is the primary skill you should exhibit during these times, giving them Control over the situation. Asking them gentle questions, however, will help them evaluate their situation and circumstances and become discerning, confident adults.
Starting in my kids’ teen years, I changed my schedule so that I could be present when they needed to talk. It was tough on this early rising mom to wait up until midnight for my night owl working teens, but it was worth every sleepless minute. Sometimes we would just laugh at stuff that happened at work, other times they would share some deep thoughts or struggles they were having. No matter what, the conversations built deeper connections, and they were open to what I would share. The KEY, however, was listening to them and speaking very little, especially with my boys.
So much of parenting is awareness and presence. You are showing your kids Compassion, building Connection, teaching them Coping, building their Character, raising their Confidence, and increasing their Competence.
I cannot stress enough the importance of just being there…and road trips!