May is upon us and with the hope of sunny days, brings newness and growth! Nowhere is growth more evident than in the halls, classrooms and on the playground at Willow Wood Preschool. The teachers have been commenting lately how the children seem so “big” to them! The growth we see is not only in the children’s physicality, but also in social, cognitive and emotional aspects.
As we observe the children, they seem very comfortable and confident in their Willow Wood environment. Their sense of ease with their teachers and fellow classmates is apparent. Maintaining and continuing the emotional growth of our children is one of the most challenging areas of teaching and parenting. Self-esteem in our children may be different from what we were first led to believe. Establishing the balance between too much praise and too little can be a challenge. The latest conclusions by psychologists are that, “…praise can harm if it disregards the world outside the home. Children who have a realistic—not inflated—understanding of how they are seen by others tend to be more resilient.”
There’s that word again: RESILIENT!! However, as an educator and a parent, I have a great respect for resiliency and how important it is for children to “bounce back” from adversity. As children journey through grade school, junior high and high school, hardships are inevitable. As much as we want to protect our sons and daughters from getting hurt or failing, those exact experiences are the ones that will make them emotionally strong.
So, how do we foster this resilience? Dr. Howard Gardner, professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, talks about the 7 C’s of fostering resilience:
Confidence—he stresses being realistic in your approach
Competence—allow your child to fail….BIG
Connection (between you and your child)—but not too much
Character—being considerate of others
Coping—Teach your child to ask, “Is this problem a real tiger or a paper tiger?” It’s all about perspective, here!
Control—let go and allow your child to take the reigns
Gardner says to “celebrate unevenness”. I love that! Watching a child giggle as he works through a mistake is so refreshing! Try to foster that sense of “no big deal” in your child at this young age. It will serve them well as they get older!
As another school year comes to a close, enjoy the unevenness of your child. Praise them for their efforts, for kind deeds, and being a good friend, all elements they can control.