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5 Tips For Building Resilience in Kids

As we like to say, “life’s full of surprises.” These surprises can be positive or sometimes cause stress. Evaluating how children navigate everyday stress and challenges offers a window into their resilience.

How can you help kids adjust to their circumstances and flourish in the face of life’s obstacles?

Researchers often compare a child’s resilience to a sailboat navigating through rough seas—the stressful experiences act as strong winds and turbulent waves that challenge the sailboat’s stability. On the flip side, positive relationships and supportive resources serve as the sail and rudder, guiding the sailboat through stormy waters. Even with these resources, stressors don’t simply disappear, however, the sailboat is equipped with the necessary tools and support to navigate adversity and steer towards calmer, more positive outcomes.

To help children develop resilience, put these tips into practice:

#1 Teach kids how to identify problems, brainstorm solutions, and evaluate outcomes. Encouraging a growth mindset, where mistakes are viewed as learning opportunities, helps children develop resilience by empowering them to overcome obstacles.

#2 Encourage a positive outlook by focusing on strengths, successes, and possibilities. Teach kids to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones and practice gratitude daily. Positive thinking builds resilience by enhancing optimism and coping abilities.

#3 Nurture supportive relationships with family, friends, and mentors. Strong connections provide a sense of belonging, security, and emotional support, which are vital for resilience-building in children.

#4 Help children recognize and manage their emotions effectively. Help expand a child’s emotional vocabulary, practice calming techniques, and problem-solving strategies to cope with stress and navigate challenging situations with resilience.

#5 Encourage flexibility and adaptability in children by exposing them to new experiences, challenges, and opportunities for growth. Emphasize the importance of resilience as the ability to bounce back and adapt to change.

By implementing these tips and supporting children’s social emotional development, caregivers, parents, and educators can empower kids to navigate life’s challenges with resilience, confidence, and optimism.

Want to learn more about resiliency as it relates to mental wellness? Head to our video library to hear from Heather Williams, Licensed Professional Counselor, as she talks about  the mental well-being of kids today and how social emotional learning can be your students’ superpower.

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