Building Resiliency in Children

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Resiliency – what is it?
Resiliency is the ability to rebound, or “bounce back” when negative things happen to us.

Why do children need it?
Actually, we all need it, but it is important for children to learn resiliency at an early age because it allows them to cope with life’s problems, appropriately identify and express their emotions, and gain inner strength.

How do I teach it to my child?
Some children are naturally resilient or have a resilient disposition. But there are things that parents, teachers, and adults in a child’s life can do to foster a stronger ability to bounce back from life’s hardships. Dr. Ronald S.
Palomares provides parents with Ten Ways to Build Resilience in Kids & Teens:

  1. TALK WITH YOUR CHILD. Be honest and have age-appropriate discussions about their lives.
  2. MAKE HOME SAFE. Create an emotionally safe place where feelings are acknowledged & discussed.
  3. LIMIT SCREEN TIME. Prevent extended exposure to the news including TV, newspapers and online.
  4. ACKNOWLEDGE STRESS. See the relationship between stress and moods.
  5. ESTABLISH ROUTINES. Set schedules in the morning, at bedtime and with chores.
  6. CREATE AN EMERGENCY PLAN. Make sure it is simple, clear and is routinely reviewed and practiced.
  7. TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO EXPRESS THEIR FEARS. Show them how to use creative activities and open family discussions where they feel safe.
  8. ENLIST THEIR HELP. Get them involved around the house as well as out in the community.
  9. BE POSITIVE. Teach children how to keep a positive perspective and continually look to what the future can hold.
  10. TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN SELF. Your children look to you. Model self-care and show your own emotions and how you handle them in a healthy way.

What does a resilient child have?

A mix of inner strengths:

  • competent caregivers
  • friendships
  • support networks
  • effective schooling

…and positive external influences:

  • on-target development
  • success in social
  • relationships
  • empathy
  • ability to self-regulate