Much has been written about the attributes of high-achieving adults, and what makes them different from everyone else. But if you're a parent, a more compelling question may be: "What can I do to make sure my kids succeed in life?" According to researchers, one attribute that certainly helps: resilience. Instead of being victims, resilient people see themselves as being in control of their destinies. As a result, they tend grow and get better when bad things happen, versus crumpling.

There are things you can do to build the resilience muscle in your kids. That's according to Avni Patel Thompson, founder and CEO of Seattle-based Poppy, a Y Combinator and investor-backed startup that matches families with childcare providers. Here are her words on how to do it.

1. Let them find their own solutions.

Even for young kids, I often try and let them solve their own problems when it comes to sharing or deciding what to play. For older children, letting them feel in charge of creating and choosing potential solutions is an important skill to develop as they learn to navigate life, lessons and school.

2. Don't remove all risk.

It's important to find ways to let your child explore and learn their own limits. My kids are little so I try to find ways in the kitchen for them to learn skills in a safe but increasingly independent way.

3. Help them feel capable.

Help your children feel capable by teaching them small skills that they can expand on and develop. It could be anything from learning how to meet new people or assess new situations. I do it by letting my five-year old choose produce at the grocery store.

4. Connect them with many positive role models.

Studies show that the more positive social connections a child has, the more resilient they will grow up to be. These relationships can be relatives, teachers or a sitter. It's important to encourage nurturing relationships with trusted people. Our family relies on a strong mix of my grandparents, teachers and our nanny to make things work.

5. Let them fail.

Allow kids to mess up, learn from their mistakes and do better the next time. Letting them live with the consequences of their actions can help them make better decisions the next time around.

Published on: May 2, 2017
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