Resilience in Children

Hi everyone,

What an exciting start to term 4, especially for the year six cohort who went camping, as well as Book Week. During Book Week I visited the library and saw two amazing books which I would like to recommend, “The Treasure Box” and “Suri’s Wall”.  Both books are about resilience. Psychologist and author Salvatore R. Maddi states that, “Resilience or hardiness is the ability to adapt to new circumstances when life presents the unpredictable.”  According to www.education.gov.au, resilience is essential for both children’s academic and social development.  Thus, cultivating greater resilience early in childhood will be greatly beneficial for children who may struggle with issues around friendship, academics, or family difficulties.

Beyond Blue identify five ways to help the development of resilience in children, these topics include:

  1. Developing communications skills
  2. Solving problems
  3. Encouraging independence
  4. Dealing with bullying
  5. Managing emotions

I would like to focus on the last topic of managing emotions. Beyond Blue and Kids Helpline has recommended the following practices which parents can do at home to help create a safe space where children can develop the skills to manage their emotions and aid in fostering resiliency:

  1. Create a safe and quiet space to talk to your children: This could at home or even the car rides before or after school. In this space you can comfort, reassure and support your child, letting them know that they are safe to discuss their feelings. The website education.vic.gov.au listed some very helpful statements parents could use to open their discussions with their children, one such statement is: “You seem [anxious/sad], what is happening for you? We can work it out together”.
  2. Do an activity: Sometimes children may find it difficult to express their feelings with words so another great option would be doing some activities like playing, painting, or even storytelling; these may be mediums that you may choose to help your child to express their feelings.
  3. Talk about how your feelings: During your discussion you may also talk about how you’re feeling (tired, excited, happy, or sad). When parents express their feelings to their children this may help them to open up, especially if they relate to your feelings.

Finally, I would like to leave you with the following quote which will highlight why helping children to communicate their feelings appropriately is important in fostering resiliency.

“Building resilience in children is not about making them tough.  Resilience is the ability to recover from difficulties and manage how you feel.” 

For more information on cultivating resilience in school aged children please visit the following website:

https://healthyfamilies.beyondblue.org.au/age-6-12/raising-resilient-children/developing-communication-skills

Thank you

Rumbi Tsokota