6 Tips to Building Resilience in Children & Youth
Building resilience in children is one of the most important steps parents can take to help their children develop. To be resilient means to have the capacity to bounce back from difficult situations quickly. There are many factors that play into an individual’s resilience, but on average, children who develop resilience at a young age are set up for greater success as they grow up.
Resilience can be seen in a wide variety of circumstances from moving across the country and adapting to that change to having a family member pass away to having a friend be mean to you at school. No matter the circumstance, if it feels difficult, your resilience is working to help you bounce back and move forward.
Why building resilience in youth matters
Early childhood is the time when the brain is most plastic and mendable. Because of this, it is important to train the neurobiology of the brain to act resiliently when children are young. When resilience is nurtured at a young age, children will be able to overcome obstacles, and they are often at a reduced risk of suffering from anxiety or other stress related disorders as they get older.
Ask any parent of a pre-teen or teen, and you’ll hear a common goal of mastering how to raise resilient teenager. This gives parents, who love their children dearly, the confidence that their kids can face anything life throws at them—be it a global pandemic, not making the varsity team, a challenging professor, a toxic workplace, and more. The younger you start supporting resilience in a child, the more likely you will equip them with skills for a future where they fully adopt the No Barriers mindset:
What’s Within You is Stronger Than What’s in Your Way.
Building resilience in children starts with YOU, the parent, valuing the skill development in your child and consciously pursuing it.
Characteristics of a resilient child
What comprises someone who is resilient? Are there general characteristics of a resilient child? We think so:
- Confidence. When children are confident in themselves, that gives them the strength to press on, be positive, and believe in themselves in times of trouble.
- Competence. Children who feel that they are strong and able will often look at obstacles and believe they can conquer them.
- Control. Having the feelings and ability to be in control over yourself helps you to stay calm and collected when the world around you may be turning upside down.
- Connection (with others). For any human, but especially children, having strong, close relationships gives you a sense of security because you know you will be supported no matter what.
- Optimism. The ability to be positive in the face of adversity is extremely beneficial when building resilience.
How to build resilience in children
Lucky for all of us—and our collective future prospects—it isn’t rocket science to figure out how to build resilience in children. Here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Promote Healthy Risk Taking
In order for children to learn lessons and grow, it is important that they take risks. Now that doesn’t mean that you let them run around with no parental supervision, but you need to let them take chances and grow through them. Taking risks allows a child to be stretched out of their comfort zone; and when it is from a safe base, there is not much risk if they are unsuccessful in their ventures. Through taking healthy risks, children will practice experiencing hardship and bouncing back from whatever the outcome may be in strengthening their resilience.
2. Focus on Skill Development
Bounce Back and Thrive is an awesome program to help build resilience in children. Through a 10 week program, you will get the chance to enhance your parenting skills in a two part program. This program is offered in an interactive setting with hands-on resilience activities for kids and video clips to help you build the capacity to role model resilience to your children. This evidence based program is offered to parents of children ages 8 and under.
3. Reframe Your—And Their—Mindset
Reframing is an essential part of building resilience in children because it can be applied across various life circumstances. Reframing involves rewiring the brain to be able to take an issue and instead of looking at the negatives you alter your perspective to see the opportunities that have been created. Teaching your children to reframe situations is majorly impactful on their resilience because when they can take obstacles and look at them in a positive light, they become easier to bounce back from and overcome.
4. Seek Outside Tools and Support
Supporting resilience in a child can be tough, but easier if you don’t do it alone! Beyond Blue Resource is a tool for parents of children ages 0-12 that helps teach them how to build resilience in their children. From chapters on learning what resilience is and its importance to chapters on strategies to use to build resilience in youth. This guide offers tangible, easy to implement ideas for each family to use. Another awesome topic this resource discusses is resilience interventions. It outlines when an intervention may be needed and what the best way is to go about it. Through the wide variety of topics the Beyond Blue Resource covers, it is a great starting place to learn more about resilience and some strategies to help your kids grow into strong, resilient people.
5. Play Games
Keeping kids engaged and learning can often be hard, but there are some great games out there that do just that. Games that teach resilience skills give kids a chance to interact with others and play while preparing themselves to face anything that comes their way. Team games like hula hoop challenges and trust walks are great ways to teach kids how to work together through challenges. In order to be sure the kids are getting the most of the games, it is important to discuss afterwards how they may have felt when the game got hard and how they worked together to overcome those challenges.
You don’t have to teach your kids E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G., and sometimes its helpful to have external “backup” when it comes to complicated topics like planning resilience activities for kids. Although hands-on experience is a great way to learn new skills, there can be so much achieved through online classes as well. No Barriers offers online classes that promote resilience building. From a mixture of online video chats to discussion and real time activities, your children will get the chance to learn more about resilience and practice their skills at a self-directed pace.
No Barriers Bounce—For Individual Learners
No Barriers offers amazing resources for kids that challenge them to grow with a positive mindset from their home. Bounce is a program for kids ages 11-14 that helps kids develop a positive mindset and strengthens them to break through any barrier they may face. Every other day your kid will have a 30 minute “lesson” that can range from activities to guest speakers to inspirational role models. Through this program, they will gain the confidence to take on the world!
No Barriers Ignite—For the Classroom
No Barriers Ignite is a free youth resilience program that empowers kids to find their purpose and passion. Through six 30 minute sessions, students will walk through creating a vision for their lives and get the chance to collaborate with their peers through the process. Ignite is the perfect program for students grades 5-12 to gain resilience by learning more about their identity and their purpose. By creating a vision for their lives with Ignite, children will be equipped with the insight to overcome obstacles in order to achieve their visions.
Early childhood is a fundamental stage of life and if children are raised to be resilient, they will be set up for success. Since kids are so easily influenced, teaching them these skills can make life changing differences for them.
Building resilience in children is essential
Being able to bounce back from hardships, no matter how big or small, at any stage of life is a skill that will continually come in handy. Building resilience in youth is not always easy, but you won’t regret teaching them those skills!May 28, 2020