Monday, April 30, 2018

Supporting Resilience in Children

We all know that life is full of both ups and downs.  There are days we feel extremely happy and days we feel sad.  Some days our friends and family are getting along and other days not so much. Some days we feel confident and other days worried.  We all have emotions, and though we want to save our children from the bad ones, they need these experiences in order to grow into healthy, resilient adults.  
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, resilience is defined as having an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.  Thinking about this definition, I understand that much of childhood is spent learning resilience and how important resilience is for our entire life - our social/work lives and our emotional well-being.  Through playing with other children, learning to share, and identifying feelings, children are learning resilience on a daily basis.  
Families also play a big role in forming their child's resilience and ability to cope with the world at large.  Learning from what they see, children watch parents/caregivers tackle stress and negative feelings.  By coping with setbacks in a calm way, children learn to handle problems of their own in a calm manner as well.  
In addition, by showing children unconditional love, understanding and acceptance, children learn that they are safe, secure and supported, not matter what feelings crop up in their lives.  It is through these secure relationships, that we help children understand different emotions and how to regulate them when they arise.  

Tracy Trautner, from Michigan State University Extension, recently wrote an article on the subject, which includes several suggestions for building caring relationships with children and the importance of resilience-building.   

As much as we want to build positive resilience in children, prolonged stress has the opposite effect.  If you are interested in how you can empower children to manage the stressors in their lives, consider attending the following free workshop:



The Resilience Toolbox
May 10th, 2018
6:30-8:00 p.m.

Washington Street Education Center
500 Washington Street
Chelsea, MI 48118
open to the public

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