Children, despite being in their “carefree” stage of life, do go through plenty of hurts, struggles, and challenges. The current state of affairs in SA- which is struggling a pandemic and civil unrest simultaneously- is extremely unsettling for our kiddos- so let’s look at how to build resilience.

Resilience is the ability to adapt well to adversity. Resilience does of course not take away the underlying emotional pain or sadness after a major stress or loss, but it helps us to cope.

How can we help build up resilience?

  1. Encourage your children to build up a network: encourage them to connect with family and peers- even through video-chats. Feeling part of a team helps give purpose and place.
  2. Encourage your children to help others- this can be empowering.
  3. Challenge unrealistic thinking in children by asking about the ”worst case scenario” which they fear, and then discussing it step by step. This gives them a plan.
  4. Teach your children to have reasonable goals and help them to move in small achievable steps towards that goal. Having goals helps them to maintain structure when there are setbacks.
  5. Teach your children self-care including healthy eating, exercise and sleep. Without a healthy body, the mind and emotions cannot function optimally.
  6. Maintain consistency with routines- structure gives certainty- building in some unstructured time to allow children to be creative and develop their imaginations.
  7. Try and promote a positive self-view. Emphasize how much their contribution counts on so many levels.
  8. Help them to learn to problem solve and make their own decisions.
  9. Teach them about self-discovery during setbacks: Tough times are often when children (and adults) learn most about themselves. Help your child to see how tough and brave they really are.
  10. Give them a hopeful outlook: help them to see that there is a future beyond the current situation and that the future can be good.