Mental health is an essential component of children’s overall wellbeing. Not only does it have a significant impact on their social, emotional, and cognitive development, but a child’s mental health can also determine their ability to learn and build healthy relationships.
A key element of mental health for children (and adults) is resilience. Building resilience in children is a vital aspect of ensuring their optimal development and wellbeing.
What is resilience?
Resilience is the ability to adapt and cope with adversity, stress, and life’s challenges. Setbacks are inevitable across our lifetimes, but when we build resilience in children we support them in developing the tools they need to overcome obstacles, manage stress, and thrive in life.
Resilience is not something that people are born with; rather, it is a skill that can be learned and developed through positive experiences, supportive relationships, and effective coping strategies.
Identifying the need for resilience and its benefits
The experts at Resilient Youth Australia explain that by building resilience in young people, we can empower them to be able to learn from their mistakes and to understand that failing is okay and in fact an integral part of the learning journey.
It’s worthwhile for early childhood educators to know how to identify resilience in children, as well as know when building resilience might be especially important. Children with high levels of resilience tend to have a positive outlook on life, a sense of purpose, and strong problem-solving skills. They are more likely to have healthy relationships with others, exhibit good self-esteem, and demonstrate empathy and compassion towards others.
Children with high resilience also tend to be more optimistic, curious, and adventurous. They may be keen to take a chance on trying new things, and can bounce back quickly from setbacks.
Children with low resilience, on the other hand, may struggle with self-esteem, have difficulty regulating their emotions, and experience more anxiety and stress in their daily lives. This can in turn impact their ability to learn effectively.
Further, children who need support in building resilience may have difficulty adapting to change, struggle with problem-solving and even experience anxiety.
5 strategies to build resilience in children
With these indicators of resilience levels understood, the value of building resilience is apparent. And as early childhood educators, we can employ a range of strategies to support the development of resilience in young children.
Here are a few resilience-building approaches you might consider:
1. Building positive relationships
Building positive relationships with children is crucial in helping them develop resilience. When children feel valued and cared for, they are more likely to have positive self-esteem, which can help them cope with stress and adversity. Encouraging engagement with peers and fostering meaningful friendships and connections with those around them can strengthen resilience and provide social support in life.
2. Encouraging positive self-talk
Using positive self-talk can help children to build resilience. When children use positive self-talk, they are more likely to have a positive outlook on life and be able to cope with challenges and setbacks.
3. Use mindfulness and reflection as a tool
Looking at ourselves and reflecting on life is an excellent habit for life. The practice of mindfulness can benefit children and adults of every age, enabling us to accept and acknowledge the present moment as we experience it. Learn more about introducing mindfulness to children and download a free eBook here.
4. Encouraging problem-solving
Encouraging children to use problem-solving skills can help them develop resilience. When children are able to identify and solve problems, they feel more confident in their ability to handle challenges.
5. Foster children’s independence
Empowering children and supporting them in achieving independence can go a long way toward becoming resilient individuals. When a child feels empowered, they can better believe in their own ability to succeed, and trust that they have the tools needed to do well.
Resilience focus in early childhood education training
When you study early childhood education with Selmar, you can be rest-assured that you will receive training that enables you to support the growth and development of resilience in children.
Learn to help children understand and express their emotions, build relationships and more through the Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and the Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.
Both provide essential training to enable educators to support the growth and development of resilience in children. In particular, unit CHCECE033 – Develop Positive and Respectful Relationships with Children, and unit CHCECE045 – Foster Positive and Respectful Interactions and Behaviour in Children unit of the Diploma provide valuable knowledge and skills that educators can use to support resilience and overall mental health in children.
When educators have an in-depth understanding of how to build children’s resilience, they contribute to creating a safe and nurturing environment that helps children to reach their fullest potential to lead a happy life.