How to build your child’s resilience levels

Children need resilience to manage ups and downs they face during and after challenging or difficult situations. These can range from conflicts with friends to falling off a bike but also include emotional experiences such as disappointment, loss or rejection.

Resilience is more than just coping

Those with greater levels of resilience are better able to manage ongoing stress, a risk factor for mental health issues later in life. Resilience has also been associated with better academic performance and behaviour and, longer-term, is associated with greater life opportunities.

A child who is resilient may:

  • be optimistic and use positive self-talk for encouragement
  • identify and express their feelings and thoughts
  • not hide away from strong feelings
  • have helpful, age-appropriate strategies to manage their emotions when upset
  • rearrange their plans to work around an unexpected situation
  • have a sense of agency or responsibility
  • keep on trying if something doesn’t work out and use their judgment to know when to stop
  • hold a sense of purpose or hope for the future
  • actively ask for help if they need it
  • feel a sense of attachment to family, their learning community and to learning


Celebrating milestones can develop child’s confidence

While there’s often criticism in the community in regards to the continual celebration of a child’s every achievement, the reason we praise successes, big or small, is because it can inspire growing minds to keep going. It also helps to develop a child’s confidence levels.

Crucially, building a child’s resilience level requires both outside support and their own inner strength. Positive outside role models help teach children that they are safe, accepted and loved, while skills of inner strength such as critical thinking, confidence, responsibility and self-regulation, teach kids that they are able to cope with difficult situations.

Encouraging persistence is key

One of the key ways to develop resilience in children is to foster independence, this means allowing them the opportunity and time to try a task numerous times until a new skill is perfected. Importantly, this means resisting the urge to take over when they are struggling and instead, encouraging them to do it themselves.

Sure, they might feel frustration, but this emotion assists them to develop emotional and behavioural self-regulation skills. It also gives them the chance to identify and understand their emotions and as a result, learn ways to calm themselves and think critically about the situation, their response and other ways to with it.


Mistakes are opportunities to solve problems differently

As parents, we can also build our children’s self-confidence, and therefore resilience, by teaching them to see mistakes as ways to problem solve in different ways. When we actively point out their strengths and teach them to build upon these, as well as their limitations, we build positive affirmations that become their inner voice.

You can build your child’s resilience by:

  • showing them unconditional love
  • providing them with an older person outside of the home to talk to
  • praising them for doings things on their own and striving to achieve
  • ensuring family is always there for them when needed
  • teaching them that things will turn out all right
  • encouraging them to focus on a task and stay with it
  • nurturing a sense of humour
  • offering them opportunities to make goals and plans, both short and long term



Keep in mind that when attempting to grow your child’s resilience, it’s wise to adjust your strategies depending on their individual needs and circumstances.

By working to improve your child’s resilience, you’re providing them with a foundation for developing skills and habits that enable them to deal with later adversities during adolescence and adulthood.

To arrange a free 15-minute, no-obligation call with our director to discuss your child’s unique needs, please call us on 07 3009 0338.


Source: Beyond Blue

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