A professional athlete knows all about resilience. So who better to give us some tips on how to build resilience in our kids, than a martial arts champion.
World UFC Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is someone who knows how to come back from a set back and ultimately triumph. Here the author of new children’s book Alexander the Great explains how to build resilience in your child.
When you’re a professional athlete, you soon become used to defeat and learning to put setbacks behind you. However when you’re a child it’s not so easy. Top mixed martial arts champion and father-of-two Alexander Volkanovski said the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties by developing mental toughness is one of the best qualities any child can develop.
Alex recently released a children’s book based on his life Alexander the Great which tells the story of his amazing rise through the ranks of the UFC with messages of positivity and resilience for kids.
“I wanted to show kids how I was able to achieve my goals through nutrition, training, patience, sacrifice and overcoming obstacles,” says the 31-year-old. “I also give a bit of a pep talk to kids at the end of the book telling them that although I’ve faced some uncertain times, it taught me lessons and I emerged stronger. That’s a really positive message for kids to hear.”
Alex shares his top tips on how to build resilience in our kids.
Get kids comfortable with discomfort
When something goes wrong for your child, parents tend to jump in and want to fix things immediately for them. However, kids need to realise the world isn’t perfect. They need to understand that there are times they will fall down where they need to get up on their own and problem solve. This has been a big learning factor throughout my own life. Avoiding discomfort just weakens resistance.
Help them develop a work ethic
One of the best ways kids can become mentally tougher is to keep practicing something until they master it. Practice can be boring, painful and tedious. I train three hours a day six days a week whether I want to or not. However, being able to stick something out and then becoming really good at it will show your child that he or she is capable of greatness. This is one of the key messages in my book – dreams work … but only if you do.
Spend quality time with your kids
I’m totally devoted to my daughters Ariana, 5, and Airlie, 3. Everything I do is for them and I love spending time with them whenever I’m not travelling. Kids develop good coping skills when they have caring relationships with their parents. Being a good role model and giving kids guidance will help them to become confident in themselves.
Encourage healthy risk taking
Growing up I had no idea that I would someday become an MMA fighter until I decided to give a wrestling class at my local PCYC a go. I found out I was actually quite good at it. All I had ever done before that was playfight with my brother! You never know what you’ll achieve unless you give something a go. A healthy risk is when a kid is pushed outside of their comfort zone, which results in little harm if they’re unsuccessful. Trying a new sport is a great example of this.
Remind your kids to never give up
I felt it was important in my book to write a note about never giving up. I tell kids that I spent years working towards my dream. I’ve hustled hard and worked even harder. I’ve faced my fair share of injuries, knock backs and knock outs. But it turned out those dark and sometimes uncertain times taught me the biggest lessons. I came out stronger every time. It’s a message that kids need to hear constantly.
Are your kids resilient? Do you have any tips on how to build resilience in our kids? Tell us in the comments below.