Coping Skills to Achieve Success at School
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
We’re not born with all the skills to get things done successfully. Biological factors can influence how these skills develop as well as life experiences.
Executive functioning is a set of mental processes that allow us to link a set of skills to get things done successfully. These sorts of skills help children become competent learners, control their emotions and be capable of forming positive relationships with others.
Research shows that the best predictor of success in school is not intelligence scores (IQ). It’s capable executive functioning.
Childhood provides is a critical opportunity for parents to enhance the learning and development of executive skills in their child. Whether you are 4 years old or 40 years old, we use the same set of brain-based executive skills to help us reach our goals in life.
One important executive skill is emotional control – the ability to manage emotions to achieve goals, complete tasks or control and direct behaviour. Another is flexibility – to make the emotional adjustment necessary to adapt to change and problem solve. This includes overcoming feelings of disappointment or frustration.
How to Improve Emotional Control
If your child as weak emotional control, you may find that they have difficulty managing unpleasant feelings such as anxiety, frustration and disappointment. They might struggle with overcoming obstacles or find the strength to keep on going when faced with difficulties at school, home or in other environments.
Regulating the environment can reduce the likelihood of your child’s emotions escalating to the point of no control. Predictable routines also provide children with the opportunity to develop autonomy and competence. Discover our tools to help turn your daily routine from chaos to calm here.
Children who are able to understand and manage their feelings in a healthy way are more likely to stay calm in challenging situations. Sometimes, a child’s need to be heard and understood can often outweigh their ability to focus on the details of what may be the problem. In these situations, acknowledge your child’s feelings in simple terms, before attempting to problem solve. Read more about feelings here.
Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or tensing and releasing muscles can be practised as a family. At home, you and your child might also agree that when they start to feel a bit overwhelmed, the child can signal to you that they need a break. A Family Relaxation Menu can help.
How to Practice Flexibility
Does your child ‘go with the flow’? What happens when plans suddenly change due to factors beyond their control? Do they struggle with adjusting and problem-solving? Other family members may find it takes extra energy and planning on their part to reduce the impact of any unexpected changes on the inflexible family member.
Sometimes it can be helpful to offer children choices in how to handle situations. Inflexibility may arise when they feel someone is trying to control them, so returning some of the control to them might help.
Inflexibility may arise if a child is faced with a situation they consider to be anxiety-provoking. They may find it difficult to adjust to a new school, sleep routine or different activity. Providing enough support initially for the child to achieves success, then as confidence grows, fading that support gradually may improve flexibility.
Resilience Kit helps Perth children who struggle with their emotions, learn better ways to cope with life’s challenges. View the upcoming program dates here.