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Helping 3 yo become more resilient

(6 Posts)
mizzles Wed 16-Sep-20 00:28:13

After a tear-filled park trip this evening, I would be really grateful for some tips to help me teach DD (age 3) to be more resilient when things don't go her way and to persevere. To be honest, this evening wasn't my finest hour, so I'm keen to get some better strategies.

She gets very upset when she can't do something - e.g. today when her much taller friend could climb higher than her. Whenever this happens I tell her the only way to get better at doing things is to try them and keep practising. Sometimes this works and she takes it on board (and indeed often finds she can do whatever it is) - but sometimes, like tonight, she just whines and gets upset (and I get a bit annoyed that she won't try). She does a seem more whiny than other kids her age and I generally give it short shrift so as not to encourage it, but maybe this is wrong? I've had a few chats with her in calmer moments about it, and how important it is to keep trying, but I'm not sure how much of it goes in. And I'm sure I'm too impatient when she seems defeatist, because I hate seeing her unhappy and know how pleased she will be when she gets the hang of something.

Another thing that causes hassle is her being very intolerant of other kids in the park e.g. getting upset if someone goes on something she wanted to go on. She refuses to accept that other kids can play on e.g. a roundabout at the same time. I try not to hover too much when she's playing as she has to learn to navigate this stuff but I'm not sure how much of a life lesson she gets when she's getting herself worked up.

In case it helps and to avoid a far as I know she doesn't kick off like that at nursery (she attends 4 days a week). Her language and general development is fine - e.g. she can read simple words, speaks essentially like an adult and exhibits good understanding. She is otherwise not prone to tantrums.

Any words of wisdom?

OP’s posts: |
HathorX Wed 16-Sep-20 02:37:35

I would just follow the approach "praise the effort, not the outcome" and be very specific trying to find things to praise that she has succeeded in, so you might say, "you didn't manage to climb to the top yet, but you got to halfway without even looking at your feet and that took a lot of concentration."

Regarding sharing play equipment, this seems like a different problem altogether. If she refuses to share the roundabout (perhaps she is worried it will go to fast for her?) then tell her very calmly that she has a choice - she can either go on the roundabout with the other children, pick something else to do, or sit quietly and wait - but if she is going to complain then you will take her home as she is supposed to be in the park having fun, and it is no fun complaining. Then take her home if she whines. She'll get the message and stop.

She is still really little and learning to regulate her behaviour and emotions, it is not a negative aspect of her personality, just something she has to learn to do. She thinks you're a sympathetic ear so you get to hear all the things that eventually will become her internal monologue. It is good to get her in the habit of being positive about what she CAN do well, and then teach her to recognize a fun challenge I'm what she would like to do but can't do yet.

Mintjulia Wed 16-Sep-20 02:52:35

My only thought is that she's only three. She's probably tired by the late afternoon and that's bound to make her less resilient.

At that age, I'd keep praising her efforts, help her when you can, and don't expect too much. Probably take her home earlier if possible.

RepeatSwan Wed 16-Sep-20 03:01:45

Resilience is a much misused word, it should mean inner strength etc but seems to have been turned into meaning stiff upper lip.

I is understandable to be cross at not being able to do something a bigger child can.

I would have been very understanding of the frustration, maybe said 'I know how hard it is but every day we get a bit bigger' and then said something like 'do you want another try or want to do something else?' as both those things are good options.

I was intrigued by this speaks essentially like an adult as it can't be true in a three year old, and even if they use a wide vocab, they don't think/feel like an adult. Three year olds get very frustrated and cry etc.

Real resilience comes from security. Maybe she doesn't want to try, she wants to have a cuddle? She's more likely long term to be resilient if not pushed now imo.

TigerQuoll Wed 16-Sep-20 05:27:28

Get her to watch the Bluey episode called Bike

user165423256322 Wed 16-Sep-20 05:42:25

Resilience is a much misused word, it should mean inner strength etc but seems to have been turned into meaning stiff upper lip.

Yes yes.

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