As parents and caregivers we desire for our children to be confident and strong. We also thrive to protect them from any harm and/or stresses. However, no matter how much we try there is no way we can fully protect them at all times. Part of living life is facing all the adversities and challenges that life brings. Children are not exempt from these challenges. Instead of protecting them, we should teach them how to deal with life’s challenges and thrive through them. The key to doing this is to help children build resilience. Resilience is the ability to recover from traumatic events and bounce back. Resilience is learned through experiences and time. As adults we can easily recognize when we increase our resilience or how much we can handle. Children also learn how to handle situations based on their environments and parents or caregivers.

Here are 5 ways we can increase resilience in a child:

  1. A secured relationship with a competent and caring adult. Children learn to feel safe with a secure attachment with a primary caregiver. When a child develops a secure attachment he/she develops a positive emotional bond, which fosters trust, therefore allowing them to explore their surroundings.
  2. Connecting with positive role models. Children learn from others. A positive role model teaches the child positive coping skills. Children are like sponges and will absorb everything around them. Fostering a positive relationship with a role model helps them deal with stress in healthier ways.
  3. Encourage and appreciate talents and abilities. Children need to learn how to recognize their strengths. Parents/caregivers can nurture a child’s strengths by showing appreciation. Children thrive with positive affirmations and reinforcements.
  4. Self Control. Teaching children how to regulate their emotions will increase their ability to recover from a stressful situation. Allowing a child to recognize and identify their emotions will help them in knowing how to control them. Practicing calming techniques with your child such as blowing bubbles (breathing exercise) will enhance their ability to self control when stressed.
  5. Sense of belonging. Encourage children to participate in social activities, clubs, or community events. This will allow children to build responsibilities and learn how to help others. It also allows the child to feel like they are part of something therefore boosting confidence.

Resilient children will grow up to be resilient adults. Adults with high resilience tend to live a healthier life, less likely to be depressed, be involved in happier and healthier relationships, and be more successful at school and work.

NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.

Author: Mayeling Angelastro, MA, CPP is an Orlando Winter Park Bilingual (Espanol) Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern providing help to couples, families, couples, children and teenagers with offices in Winter Park and East Orlando.  She is a Certified Child Parent Psychotherapist (CPP) helping to heal children from the trauma of going into Foster Care and reestablishing their attachment to their new families. Contact May for a Complimentary 15 Minute Phone Call (407) 248-0030!