Using a Simple Mindset to Build Resilience in Your Child

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Scott Schuitema, Middle School Grade 5 Faculty and Varsity Golf Coach
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have leaned on a mindset from my college golf coach that I use while coaching the boy's golf team and particularly now as a teacher during a pandemic. He always said, "Control the controllables and let the uncontrollables go." I have kept this at the forefront of my mind as I adapt to our new way of living, from teaching remotely to stopping and starting athletic seasons to changing the way we go to stores and restaurants. To reduce students' anxiety during this pandemic, we can help our students apply this simple mindset to the classroom, playground, and home.
A difficult task for many of us is to avoid worrying about things out of our control. Students cannot control who their teachers are or how much homework they are assigned. Athletes cannot control the players on the other team or the officials. Adults cannot control the traffic in our city or what others think of us. Today, the number of uncontrollable factors our students face at school and in the real world are abundant - COVID testing, wearing a face mask, social distancing from friends, and eating lunch in the classroom. The anxiety both adults and students have faced throughout the pandemic has been overwhelming.
The critical part for teachers as trusted adults in our students' lives is to infuse positivity into the classroom and helping them control the things they can influence and forget about things that are out of their control. We need to help our students feel comfortable and safe in our classrooms. We can help our students function in their environment by pointing out the many aspects of their health and safety they can manage, such as washing their hands before eating their meals each day. We can also help our students reach their learning potential by teaching them how to use their time wisely in both an in-person and remote environment while providing exciting, engaging, and authentic lessons. Finally, through this positivity, we can show students their leadership opportunities and make a difference in their community.
As parents, you can assist your children by showing them the factors they can control at home. For example, please encourage your child to create a schedule to stay organized and manage their time at home. You can support your child's efforts to put their best work forward while embracing what their unique abilities are. Your child may be dealing with the many emotions that may arise with the various scenarios throughout the year. You can help them by actively listening to their concerns without passing judgment. Building resilience in your child will serve them well in the future.
With the world turned upside down, we can help our vulnerable youth to apply a simple mindset to control what we can control while staying positive. Allowing your child to build resilience will lead to a peaceful, successful, and enjoyable life no matter the circumstances we encounter.
Detroit Country Day School is a private, independent, co-educational, non-denominational, preschool through grade 12 college preparatory school in Michigan focused on a well-rounded liberal arts education. Emphasis on academics, arts, athletics, and character development is prevalent across the curriculum. The school admits students of any race, color, religion, sexual orientation, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students in the school. To learn more visit
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