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Building Resilience Through Relationships

By Too Small to Fail

We do as much as we can to protect our children from stressful situations, but as much as we try, there are daily stresses that children will encounter. As a parent or caregiver, developing a positive, healthy relationship with your child can help your little one bounce back from and cope with difficult circumstances, which is also known as resilience

Resilience refers to the protective skills and supportive environments that help children cope and succeed in the face of difficult circumstances. One of the major ways children develop resilience is through stable and nurturing relationships with parents and caregivers. These relationships help provide a buffer against stressful childhood experiences and can help children build executive functioning skills - like planning and persistence - that are keys not just to coping, but to thriving despite big challenges.

You can help your child develop the skills he or she needs to cope and recover, which will help them now and in the future. Children do best when they feel safe and secure: they learn to regulate their feelings, attention, and behaviors; building a close, loving relationship with your child is the most important thing you can do to help him or her develop resilience.

Here are a few tips for how you can build resilience through close bonds right from the start!

  • Give your child hugs and love. Hold your baby close and tell her that you love her. By giving your child lots of hugs and attention, you’re making her feel safe and secure, which helps build resilience! Read more about how you can help build resilience in young children from BestStart.org.

  • Boost your child’s self esteem. Always give your little one time to do what he or she is good at–it boosts self-esteem, which helps create resilience skills! Be sure to positively reinforce what he or she is doing. You can say things like, “I love all the different colors you’re using for your painting” or “You did a great job listening when I read you the story.” Read more from the Women’s and Children’s Health Network.

  • Establish a reading routine. Creating a consistent reading routine can help build stability in your child’s life while also boosting brain development and language skills. Try reading a book together every night before bed. Learn more on how talking, reading, and singing can also build resilience on our blog

Get more tips like these on TalkingIsTeaching.org.

Talking Is Teaching: Let’s Talk About Feelings

How can you help your child learn how to cope with daily stresses and build resilience? Observe your child’s feelings and reactions. Ask your little one, “How do you feel?” and listen closely to his or her response. Help name emotions like happy, excited, sad, frustrated, or worried. Taking time to understand and express how your little one is feeling can strengthen your relationship, and when your child feels understood and listened to, he or she feels supported which is important for coping during a stressful situation. Plus, being present and showing concern about how your child is feeling can help him or her build resilience! Read more on KidsHealth.org.  

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