If you watch children play, there can often be a power struggle between, ‘I’ll be the mummy, you be the baby.’ Or, ‘I’ll be the doctor, you be the patient.’ It’s good for children to work through these tensions, but if you’re noticing that your child only does things one way, then encourage a swap next time. We all need to learn how to lead and follow, so try to find ways to do this in your daily living. For example, we rotate who is the leader when we walk to the park.
Structured sport is another great way to teach resilience. Kids learn about teamwork, about putting in an effort, adapting in the moment and respecting both the rules and officials. This helps foster mental flexibility that’s essential in later life. Sport also teaches kids that, while they don’t always have control over life’s outcomes, they do have control over their internal response to adversity and can learn how to manage rising emotions, as well as reset and refocus. Learning resilience is something that takes time, and the more opportunities kids have to practise these skills, the better.