5 Tips to Help Kids Build Resilience

By: Sunil Boodhai, Manager – Family and Outpatient Programs

Resilience is:

  • a how a person navigates through adversity using internal and external resources to support healthy adaption, recovery and successful outcomes. 
  • learned throughout a person’s life — we are always building resilience. 
  • not something anyone is born with. Everyone can build resilience to deal with challenging circumstances. 

Children learn resilience in the school yard, classroom and with their family. Here’s how adults and families can help build children’s resilience:

1. BE A ROLE MODEL Let kids see adults navigate through challenges and difficulties. 

Let children see that while adults don’t always agree, they can still work through disagreements and come to a workable consensus and solutions. Let children see that adults have feelings too and how to work through them.

2. ALLOW KIDS TO FIND SOLUTIONS – Let kids develop their own solutions and solve conflict and disagreement. 

Let children know you are paying attention. However, get them to bring solutions to you when they are experiencing difficulties. This accomplishes two things:

  • building a child’s belief that they can solve their own issue, and
  • adults learn more about their child’s capabilities

3. ALLOW KIDS TO SELF SOOTHE – Help kids develop this important skill.

Quiet and reflective “alone time” allows everyone to recharge. It allows people to reflect and work things out on their own. Encourage children to write (a journal or even fiction), draw, and read. Offer them an outlet for creative expression.

4. BE WITH YOUR CHILDREN AND FAMILY – Remember to spend time together.  

The more time you spend as a family allows children to learn they have the backing of the entire family unit. They become ahead in their thinking and feel that they can handle issues they may face. They know they are not alone and as a result will respond with a greater degree of confidence. Having dinner together is helpful. Dinner chaos is illuminating – sharing experiences, disagreeing, connecting – jump in, listen and allow it to happen.

5. PLAY – last and the most important – nurture this every day.  

Play is the golden rule. Play games and do creative activities together, especially when children are not at school. This is how children figure out their talents, skills, interests and passions. Playing at home will enrich the lives of the whole family.  

About the Authors

Donna Harris
Contributor to Renascent blog posts and articles.