Administrator’s Corner: How do we help students be resilient?

Published 8:00 pm Friday, April 5, 2024

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Administrator’s Corner by Kristi Kenis

I have maintained that one of the most challenging aspects of parenting is allowing your child to experience failure. As a parent, our role is to guide our children in understanding what can be learned from these setbacks and how to move beyond them. It’s essential to recognize that failing is a part of life, and it’s also a critical component of personal growth and resilience building.

Kristi Kenis

Our children learn a lot from watching their parents. They watch how we process, work through and respond to difficult situations.

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Below are some suggestions for parents to help foster resiliency in their children.

• Talk openly about what upsets you and what obstacles you have to overcome (age appropriately). More importantly, talk about what you did to rebound from something that didn’t go your way.

• Ask questions “What do you think would happen if…?” “What could you do to solve this problem?” “What steps do I need to take, or what action needs to happen?”

  • The conversations following these questions are how we can help our children develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • You can clarify that encountering setbacks is a normal part of everyone’s life and it’s perfectly fine.
  • Share stories of your own failures and what you learned from them.

• Most importantly, recognize and celebrate the effort, not just the wins.

At Sibley, we help students work on having a growth mindset. This mindset emphasizes the importance of trying and the effort that’s put into a task rather than just for success. We also create a safe environment where our students can take risks and potentially fail knowing we are there to support them and help them learn from their mistakes. We guide our students to solve their problems by helping them through possible solutions instead of fixing the problem for them. We ask open-ended questions to encourage their thought process.

Another way Sibley’s staff fosters resilience in their students is by teaching problem-solving skills. This is done through group activities where students learn to identify problems, think of solutions, evaluate and then try them out. Making mistakes is part of this process and teachers openly discuss this with their students to highlight what can be learned from them.

Letting our children fail is not about being a hands-off parent or being a teacher who idly watches their students without being involved. Through creating a supportive environment, promoting problem-solving and taking risks, and demonstrating resilient attitudes, parents and educators can collaboratively establish a foundation for our children’s resilience and determination in the future.

Kristi Kenis is principal of Sibley Elementary School.