How to foster resilience in everyday life


A child’s capacity for resilience is the result of both their genetic make up, as well as environmental factors that can be influenced and changed.  Whilst we can’t change someone’s genetics, there are many things that parents and carers can do to build resilience in children.

There are three characteristics of an environment that helps to build resilience:

  1. An environment where caring and support are considered important, and foster a sense of belonging
  2. Consistent boundaries, as well as support for children to behave appropriately and achieve positive goals
  3. Opportunities to participate in shared activities and contribute to decision making

So how can parents and carers work to create a resilient family and an environment that builds resilience?  There are many ways, and the following suggestions are not a complete list.  You may be able to find more!

  • Be actively involved in the community and have regular contact with friends, neighbours, teachers and activity groups
  • Show affection and compassion to those around you
  • Don’t blame others, focus on changing behaviour
  • Work positively to resolve arguments, communicate positively
  • Set clear, realistic boundaries for children’s behaviour
  • Focus on people’s strengths and encourage them to build on them
  • Provide children with many different opportunities to succeed
  • Allow children to participate in decision making
  • Make children responsible for appropriate tasks
  • Listen to and respect the opinions of others, even if you don’t agree with them
  • Work with your primary school or early childhood service to create an environment at school or childcare that builds resilience

Looking beyond a single child, resilience in families go hand in hand with fostering resilience in children.   Studies into resilient families have identified six common characteristics:

  1. commitment to the family
  2. appreciation and affection for each other
  3. positive communication patterns
  4. enjoyable time together
  5. a sense of spiritual wellbeing and connection
  6. the ability to successfully manage stress and crisis

There are many common themes between resilient children and resilient families – spending time together creates a sense of belonging, showing affection and focussing on positive communications are all common threads.  In many ways, a commitment to fostering resilience in children is also a commitment to fostering resilience in your family.


Categories: KidsMatter