How To Build Resilience In Young Children…

Strong resiliency skills can make a big difference in people’s lives and is a skill that is developed early in life. Resilience is the ability to cope with and recover from life’s difficulties. It is something all human beings have the potential for but is not a skill we automatically have without lots of practice. We work on it throughout our life and it should start at a very early age. Parents have the opportunity, and are the most important people, to build resiliency skills in their child.

What Is Resiliency?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back after challenges and tough times. Resilient children can recover from setbacks and get back to living life. Resilience develops when children experience challenges and learn to deal with them. For children, challenges can include starting a new school, moving to a new home and neighborhood, having a new sibling in the family. Or even more serious challenges like being bullied, a family divorce or a family illness or death. You can help your child learn resilience by having a loving relationship with them.

Typical Behaviors Of An Overwhelmed Child

The behavior they exhibit will be different when the demands upon them outweigh their capacity to cope. Some typical behaviors of an overwhelmed child include defiance, anger, resentment, or withdrawal from others. Remember, there will be times that even children with well-developed resiliency skills will feel overwhelmed. Be supportive and refer back to the suggestions for building loving relationships to help them through difficult times. Most important, however, is to not “brush off” their feelings or underestimate the struggle your child is experiencing.

Why Is Resilience Good For Children?

Resilience is a term that most people have heard before. Over the last 40 years, research into mental health has found that a strong sense of resilience is an extremely good quality to have and that the presence or lack or resilience can have a direct impact on a person’s overall health and wellbeing. Since resilience begins to develop from birth and can grow over time, it is important for parents to have a good understanding of how to foster this valuable character trait in their children. When children overcome setbacks and problems, it builds their confidence and helps them feel more capable the next time a problem comes up. When things do not go well and children feel anxious, sad, disappointed, afraid or frustrated, resilience helps them understand that these uncomfortable emotions usually do not last forever.

Why Is It Important To Teach Kids Resilience?

Without resilience, a child is more likely to find life a whole lot harder to deal with. A child who lacks resilience will be less able to take risks and be persistent with their learning. They are also more likely to struggle socially and have difficulty managing their emotional needs. Resilient children are less likely to avoid problems or deal with them in unhealthy ways, like getting defensive or aggressive or intentionally hurting themselves. Resilience is also extremely important for mental health and both adults and children who have higher levels of resilience are much better at managing stress and less likely to suffer from conditions such as anxiety and depression. When children build their resilience skills, they can better manage their emotions and overcome setbacks.

Relationships Are The Foundation Of Your Child’s Resilience

The single most common factor for children who develop resilience is at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. These relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption. This sense of love, safety, and security gives your child the confidence to explore their world and to recover from any setbacks they experience. Children learn from watching you. If you show a good example during tough times and setbacks and your child sees you try again, let anger go or think positively in difficult situations, they will learn that they can do the same.

Ways To Help Your Child Build Resilience

Building resilience in children can act as an early preventative measure against such challenges, even recognizing that mental health and other factors can also be at play for children experiencing anxiety or depression.
  • Regardless of how much you might like to, no parent can completely shield their child from hardship. In fact, protecting your child from adversity is likely to be counterproductive. If a child has no obstacles to overcome, or if a parent always jumps in to help, how can they develop the confidence needed to solve problems themselves, even into adulthood?
  • It’s through making mistakes and learning to cope with feelings like disappointment that we become healthy, independent adults.
  • Help your child to identify and manage strong emotions.  For example, your child loves his grandpa and grandpa is very ill.  You could say, I can see you are worried and sad about grandpa being ill and that is okay.  But remember we are doing everything we can to help grandpa get better.
  • Make it a habit to recognize when things are going well.  Share positive things around the dinner table that happened that day.
  • Help your child develop problem solving skills.  If your son complains that a friend said something unkind to him today at school.  Help him brainstorm a response for the next time that happens.  
It is hard, as you might want to make everything all right for your child, but sometimes your child has to go through uncomfortable feelings so they can work things out for themselves and become resilient, healthy people.

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Who You’ll Be Someday:
Songs and Stories for
Naptime and Bedtime

Ages 0-4

I Can Do It:
Songs of Confidence
Ages 3+

I Can Settle Down:
Songs of Self-Control
Ages 3+

I Can Count on You:
Songs of Belonging
Ages 3+
Un Mundo One World
Un Mundo, One World:
Songs of Resilience
in English and Spanish (Bilingual)
Ages 3+
For Now and Forever
For Now and Forever:
Songs Celebrating Families
Ages 1-3+
My Box of Dreams Cover
My Box of Dreams:
Songs for Naptime and Bedtime
Ages 1-3

Becoming My Own Me:
Songs for Developing Toddlers
Ages 1-3
Beautiful Baby
Beautiful Baby, Wonderful Child: Songs for Infants and Toddlers
Ages 0-3
Feeling Positive Cover
Feeling Positive:
Songs of Optimism, Curiosity, Kindness and Gratitude
Ages 4+
Here, Now Know-How
Here, Now Know-How: Songs of Mindfulness
Ages 4+
Imagination Generation
Imagination Generation:
Songs of Creativity
Ages 4+
New Day
New Day: Songs of Hope and Optimism
Ages 4+
Tough Stuff
Tough Stuff: Songs of Motivation
Ages 3+
Tale Care
Take Care: Songs of Friendship and Social Awareness
Ages 3-6+
Everyone is Someone
Everyone Is Someone: Songs of Social and Emotional Responsibility
Ages 7+
Go Dandelion
Dandelion: Songs for
Developing Toddlers
and Early Preschoolers
Ages 2+
Anything’s Possible: Songs for a Montessori Environment
Ages 3+

My Hand In Your Hand: Songs for Families Who Reach Out in Love
Ages 3+

Music in My Mouth: Songs for Speech and Language Skills
Ages 3+

I Belong to a Beautiful Family
Ages 3+

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