Whether you are a single mom or a dad, chances are that you have your plate full but that doesn’t mean you can’t help kids learn resilience. Maintaining a full-time job and taking care of a child isn’t easy. It’s important to step in front of the issues your children may have about your divorce and confront it adequately.
Not only that, but you can use the situation to your advantage also by teaching your children resilience. Resilience is something that every child needs to be aware of for their own sake. Things like allowance management, chores and responsibilities are a real thing. Let’s take a look at how you can ease your child into acting responsibly and help you cope with your single parent status.
6 Ways to Help Kids Learn Resilience
1. Teach them about time
Once a divorce happens and you are assigned your child by the court, things start to dawn on you. You are an adult and a single parent and life is rapidly taking place in front of you. The harsh reality is that time flies faster than we can control it. Children should remain children for as long as possible, however.
Make sure that your child has enough time to play each day and do the things they love. School and occasional chores should be parts of their daily routine but don’t be too hard on them. Instead, try to communicate the passage of time to them. Explain to them that you were once a child yourself and try to talk about what awaits them in life in a casual sense.
Don’t ruin their dreams of flying through space or traveling the world – no one knows where we might end up anyway. The value of time is one of the most important resilience lessons you can teach your child as soon as it becomes just the two of you.
2. Health lessons
Natural resilience comes from physical and mental health. Children should eat vitamins, proteins, and daily nutrients without skipping an important meal. Many children simply refuse to eat vegetables and other foods that are not “sweet” by definition. The same goes for bathing, brushing teeth or any other health-related activity.
Bargain your way to their bellies by mentioning that you might go for a walk later, play a game together or simply have some family fun. Single parents are fully capable of having family time with their children without their ex-partners present. You can follow an activity up with an important lesson about health and how they can maintain it even when you are not around.
3. Give them chores – and reward them
We all have chores and obligations when you think about it. A full-time job is a “chore” since it’s an obligatory activity that brings money to the house. This can be the perfect introduction for your child to become aware of what “work” is in the adult life.
Simple house chores such as vacuuming or washing clothes can do a lot for your child. They need to understand that the clothes, toys, and snacks they love don’t come to the house naturally. Instead, mommy or daddy is working hard to make things happen for their little baby.
Teaching your child about chores will only work if you apply the same rules you are under. Make sure to have some form of a reward ready for them as they complete more demanding tasks around the house. Now that you are single, it is time for the young one to pitch in and clean up the house every now and then. This simple one-two punch can help you both out tremendously and teach your child about everyday resilience in a very effective way.
4. School work matters
If your child loves to go to school – count yourself lucky. Many children simply aren’t enthusiastic about formal education and academia in general. Your child doesn’t have to have a 4.0 GPA however. The divorce you have gone through recently affects them just as it affects you. Make sure that your child is aware of the importance of school, however.
Try to explain that good grades lead to very cool job opportunities and lots of money later in life. Explain to them that if they don’t do well in school, they won’t be able to buy all the toys and snacks that they might want. After all, this isn’t far from the truth.
Tackling the issue in this way won’t break your child’s illusion of childhood, so don’t worry about making them sad. School work can easily be a team activity if you have some time to spare for them. In the end, you are your child’s best teacher in life, regardless of the academic education of their formal professors.
5. Take them shopping
Whether you have a boy or a girl doesn’t really matter – what matters is that shopping solves every problem. Shopping is a great way to spend some time with your child and teach them new things along the way. You can teach them about prices, how cashiers work and what it really means to grab groceries every few days.
The same can be said about buying new clothes or yard supplies provided you have a need for them. Don’t simply leave them at home or exclude them from the process. Ask for their opinion and try to get a critical thought out of them.
Deep down, they know what they want to say about that pink pullover you got them – it just hasn’t come up yet. Shopping can also be tied into chores and work habits, giving them a much clearer picture of the financial cycle involved.
6. Emotional expression
Children of divorcees go through a lot of emotional change early on. The problem is that parents often overlook these feelings as a sign of protest for what their parents did. Talk to your child and ask them about their two cents on the matter. How do they feel now that mom and dad live separately? Do they miss family times together or are they happier now that there are only two of you?
Some things need to be said aloud in order to be understood by both of you. Don’t allow your child to grow up with repressed feelings about your marital status. Try to help them understand that adults think differently and that mommy and daddy simply thought this was for the best.
You can open your child to emotional expression by leading by example. Share a private memory, a thought or something that burdens you. Show your child that you are human just as much as they are – only slightly older and bigger in comparison. This process can lead to extraordinarily strong bonds between single parents and their children.
Life-long learning (Conclusion)
Resilience in children builds up as time goes on. Parents can act as support and teach them as much as possible about the world that awaits them.
As we’ve mentioned before, don’t try to make your child grow up prematurely. Their youth is the best possible period to bond with you and learn about what is really behind their single-parent family as of late. Once you are divorced and with a child, that child becomes more than just your offspring. It effectively becomes a partner in life and everyday activities – make sure to treat them as such.
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. She does her voodoo regularly on the Pick Writers blog and occasionally contributes to other educational platforms. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer.