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How can we best prepare our children for life?

We all want to prepare our children as well as possible for life, with everything that can come. But HOW can we do that exactly? To make things a bit simpler, we have collected a few tips from experts.

We don't know what is to come for our children. We also can't go through every eventuality or stand by them in every situation. And that's fine - kids have to have their own experiences.

The best thing we can do is equip our kids with the soft skills they need:

Resilience, self-awareness and empathy go a long way.

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Resilience is stability and inner strength. Self-confidence means being convinced of one's own abilities and of one's own worth.

People with a high level of resilience are able to withstand stress more easily, cope better with strokes of fate and get back on their feet more quickly after crises. Accordingly, they are less at risk of burnout.

Self-confident children can say 'no' more easily and thus stand up for themselves. Good self-confidence can protect a child from fear, violence and addiction.

How can we help our children become more resilient and confident?

1. Allowing emotions

Our children are allowed to have positive and negative emotions. Those who are used to living out the full range of emotions can also cope better in a crisis.

Emma wanted to go on the carousel, but all the seats were taken. Emma was very sad and had to cry.

What not to do: Telling Emma that it's not that bad.

What we can do instead: Telling Emma that we understand that she is sad.

2. Letting them find their own solutions

We don't have to remove every stone from our children's path. They should find their own solutions, which allows them to experience success more intensively. The point is not to overtax children, but to encourage them in a way that is appropriate for their age.

Lena tries to zip up her jacket. It doesn't work and she is angry.

What we should not do: Close Lena's jacket. It's faster that way.

What we can do instead: Comfort Lena and tell her that we believe in her and that she can definitely do it.

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3. Allowing mistakes

Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and develop. On the one hand, we should set an example of how to deal positively with mistakes. On the other hand, we must allow our children to make mistakes.

Alice has a dance recital and is afraid of not remembering the choreography.

What we shouldn't do: Tell her not to perform.

What we can do instead: Explain to Alice that everyone makes mistakes once in a while and it doesn't matter. What's important is how to respond. For example, Alice can look to the other children and so they can help each other remember the choreography.

4. Try out new things

When we encourage our children to try new things, they learn to cope with uncertainty and see the positive in it.

Mia sees the other children on the roller coaster. On the one hand, she wants to ride too, but on the other hand, she's scared.

What not to do: Just keep going. Next time she will be bigger.

What we can do instead: Talk to Mia and tell her that it's normal to be scared when trying something new. Maybe she'll want to join us on the roller coaster. (Now it's just a matter of overcoming our own fear of heights).

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5. With a lot of love*

Children who feel loved and secure are better able to cope with difficult situations. They are also more likely to come to us and tell us about their fears and challenges.

Hugs, attention and care help not only our children, but if we are honest, us too.

6. Model healthy self-confidence

Children learn by observing and imitating. We caregivers are the best role models for our children.

This sounds quite simple, but it is often the greatest challenge, especially for people who do not have a strong sense of self themselves.

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Empathy is a core competency in many areas of life. We need the ability to empathize with others in order to make friends and build stable relationships.

An article in The Washington Post tackles how parents can help their children build empathy.

In fact, parenting style is key to raising empathetic kids. (...) That could be because warm and supportive parents are more likely to raise emotionally regulated children, and there is some evidence showing that “children that are better regulated tend to be children that display more empathy and helping behavior.”

It's not just about allowing all feelings, but also talking about them. According to Tracy Spinrad, professor and researcher at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University, it's important for parents to acknowledge and accept their child's emotions.

Young children, in particular, often can't yet categorise their behavior or the behavior of others and rely on someone to give them context.

We learn not only for ourselves, but also with our children. And we do so throughout our lives. That's why it's important to be aware of how we can best support our children in the learning process.

What points do you think are still missing?

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Who is Mint Girls?

Mint Girls makes clothes for girls who think astronauts, trucks and dragons are great. We want to empower our girls and give them the opportunity to have alternatives to princesses and unicorns.

*PS: However, this does not mean that children who are not so resilient are not loved. There are many factors at play and this is just one of them.

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