Strategies To Help Children Build Resilience

Educators and parents understand the importance of building resilience in children but often lack the skills to know how to develop it.

coloured child hands

Based on a 12 month-research program led by the Parenting Research Centre (PRC) and Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), a number of strategies were generated on the resilience concepts. Complemented with consultations from parents, children and practitioners from around the country, the methodology of how to apply them in schools, homes and early childhood settings is mentioned.

It is important to build a child's resilience so that they can manage the adversities of life in a better way. Acting as a foundation for developing skills and habits in children to enable them to deal with adolescence and adulthood problems with ease, is all that these strategies aim at. A well-built growth mind-set in the early ages also has many social and economic benefits to society too.

It is believed that the resilience interventions must focus on both the child and the environment and that interventions operate at different levels. Two distinct approaches to building resilience in children include:

Everyday Strategies

These are strategies combined with the routine practice and are designed to be used at appropriate opportunities.

Structured Resilience Interventions

Specific training, accompanied by a guide or a manual is required for practising this type of resilience strategy. This approach is generally delivered over a specific period of time.

Let us now explore both these strategies in-depth to help you to gain an understanding about resilience and how to develop it in children.

Everyday strategies for Building Resilience in Children

Exploring different ways of building resilience in children, an adult can begin with things as simple as asking students to research books about people who have overcome adversity (after reading a similar story to them). Ensure stories include a diversity of people, cultures and settings and also people with disabilities.

A number of other activities and tasks might include:

• Let children know that it is okay to ask for help and give them ideas of whom they can go to for help, and when.
• Talk to children about the times that they might require support and the times that they could talk to someone about how they feel.
• Describe to them how facing challenges in life is useful, and how they can help them grow as a person. Also explain to them that challenges give knowledge and skills, helping to prepare better the next time.

Structured resilience interventions

The literature on resilience generally focuses on children over the age of 10 (within the structured resilience programs) but it has been suggested that there is no right time for resilience interventions and these can be valuable at any time of a child's life. New evidence and research now shows that resilience skills can be (and should be) taught to babies and toddlers.

It's recommended that the teacher or parent should select appropriate measures to work with children on resilience training. These measures should include a list of five goals in the programmes of social and emotional learning curriculum:

• Introduction of protective factors for children
• Enhancement of the existing protective factors for children
• Providing resources and experiences to build resilience in children
• Reduction of risk factors among children
• Building attributes in children

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Pathways to Resilience Trust
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