People often say that kids are resilient. But the pandemic has created hurdles that kids have never faced before. If your child is struggling or falling behind because of the pandemic (or for some other reason), you may worry that bouncing back will be difficult.
Lots of kids are having a hard time right now, both academically and emotionally. Some will need time and support to regain skills or learn new strategies. That’s especially true for kids with learning and thinking differences. In many cases, distance learning has made it hard for kids to get the same level of support they get during in-person learning.
But resilience isn’t about catching up or “getting back to normal.” It doesn’t mean always being positive or never feeling upset. Resilience is about learning from setbacks and coming away from them with something positive. And kids who learn and think differently have experience with facing challenges and working hard to catch up.
If you can’t always judge resilience by results, how can you tell if your child has it? Below are six signs of resilience in kids.
Use this download to reflect on your child’s signs of resilience.
Is my child resilient?PDF
1. Asks for help
If your child comes to you with a math problem that’s like the one you just helped with yesterday, you might take it as a bad sign — your child still doesn’t get it. And that may be true. But asking for help means your child is coping with yesterday’s difficulty and feels motivated to get it right today.
2. Recognizes strengths
It can be hard to see your strengths when things aren’t going well. If your child can say, “I had a lot of spelling mistakes in my essay again, but my ideas were really good,” it shows a sense of pride and self-esteem.
3. Sees lessons in setbacks
Maybe trouble focusing during distance learning has caused your child’s grades to drop. But imagine your child discovers that standing makes it easier to pay attention and asks the teacher if it’s OK to do that during the lesson. Learning from the problem and coming up with a solution is a win.
4. Believes things will improve
Resilience means your child believes that situations can change and skills can improve with work and help. If your child believes that progress is possible, that’s a sign of resilience. You might see your child put in extra time on homework or try a new strategy to study for a test.
5. Sets goals
When kids struggle, they may lower their expectations for themselves. But if your child sets new, realistic goals instead of taking the easy way out, it shows a desire to push ahead and improve. Your child might say, “If I can’t read fast enough to finish the book by Friday, I’m going to ask for a few more days. I think I can do it by Monday.”
6. Goes back and tries again
Nobody likes going back to a difficult task and risking more disappointment or failure. If your child continues to do math homework every day despite doing poorly in math, that’s resilience. It means your child isn’t afraid to keep trying, even if the result isn’t great.
There are many ways to help your child build resilience. Download these activities for practicing positive thinking. Help your child identify strengths. And get tips for giving praise that builds self-esteem.
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About the author
About the author
The Understood Team is made up of passionate writers and editors. Many of them have kids who learn and think differently.
David Kessler, MA, LPC is a therapist who specializes in ADHD, learning disabilities, and trauma.