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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.”

alexander the great

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.

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  • Great article and great book. Many will benefit from it.

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  • My 2 boys were so different. The eldest one never let anything get to him where as his younger brother worried about everything. I always wanted to fix everything but my husband would sit him down and help him work it out for himself. This book sounds like it would be beneficial for a lot of children

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  • I have 3 different kids.I always remind them to never give up on your dreams.

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  • My son is so resilient. He’s experienced a lot of challenges in his life and always bounces back… with our support.

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  • such on important thing to help children build.

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  • I loved this article. It is so important to teach the kids resilience

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  • Good article!

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  • AwWww this is actually so lovely that he wrote a book to help kids with their confidence.
    My bub is only a year old but has a very strong personality. I hope she carries it on through life.

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  • I have two very different kids, one who will try, dials and shuts down, the other won’t even try. They are young and we are working on it

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  • If I make a mistake I make sure my kids know it and how I fixed it, we talk it out

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  • Great article. Resilience is so important for everyone.

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  • I think my 2 year old is probably going to be to resilient where is miss 10 is not o resilient we are working on it she is happy to give sport etc ago but not on the school work as she struggles

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  • My kids are pretty resilent, but I do have one who’s pretty reluctant to try anything he thinks he might not be good at. We’re working on it.

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  • I have done so many things and one child is resilient and one is not.

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  • Yes my kids are quite resilient. We’ve had foster kids in our home for many years and they learnt to share, have seen tears and sad situations, have faced physical and verbal attack and it certainly has made them stronger whilst they also learnt to walk away and take care for themselves. We do encourage self care and mindfulness here in the house whilst supporting them in this.


    • I bought this year for my 10yr old the Big Life journal which has much about the growth mindset. It’s a helpful tool.

    Reply

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