Resilience for kids

Do you have a sore loser in your household? Someone who has to win every time or there’s a giant meltdown? What about when things don’t go their way? Or if something unexpected happens? Our autistic daughter refused to go to a different classroom at school because ONE TIME she left the classroom and when she returned her class was missing and she didn’t know how to find them. Her ability to bounce back and be resilient is pretty low. She even hid 8 puzzle pieces once because she didn’t want someone else to finish the puzzle before she did.

But how do you build resilience for kids? Are you born with it, like a tough skin? Or is it something that you can grow and build?

Can you build resilience for kids?

Research indicates that resilience can be learnt. Resilience is about having a large toolkit of resources to draw on. If the resources available to you (including relational supports, problem solving skills, mindfulness and calming tools, financial resources) are greater than the size of the problem, then you’ll have the resilience to get through.

It’s like surviving in the wilderness. If you go outback with nothing in your backpack, you won’t last for long. But if you have water, food, shelter, radio all in your backpack, along with a support crew, you’re chances of survival are much higher. You’ve got resilience and feel in control because the resources available to you are much larger.

So, resilience is totally something that can be taught. This is super important because kids often have small resilience tool-kits.

Life is full of ups and downs (well, that’s actually just one school day). So having resilience is going to make life much easier, more enjoyable, reduce depression and help you live longer.

What makes up resilience?

Resilience is built through several components.

  • Knowing yourself and your strengths. Knowing who you are, what you are capable of, and what your character strengths is all part of knowing yourself and being confident in what you can do.
  • Having strategies for calm. Being able to stay calm counters the stress response and means you’ll be able to problem solve and think clearer. Lowering your breathing rate and heart rate through meditation, deep breathing, grounding exercises or mindful tea drinking are all calming strategies.
  • Being optimistic and having positive emotions. Re-framing circumstances to be positive rather than always dwelling on the negative will help you to bounce back and be resilient. Self-talk that is affirming helps the brain to think positive. Gratitude and kindness are also proven to produce positive emotions and support mental health.
  • Build your support network. An important part of resilience is drawing on resources outside of yourself. Building the relationships and social supports around you is important for your mental health and resilience.
  • Laugh. Laughing triggers the release of feel-good hormones like endorphins which reduce stress.

Helping kids build their resilience

We put together a resilience journal filled with activities and journal prompts to build the different components of resilience. Because no one needs screaming at home every time some one loses a game. Or giving up when trying to ride a bike and refusing to get back on.

Over 21 days, kids can work through the activities that target positive emotions, calm, gratitude and grit.

The resilience journal features:

  • 21 days of journal prompts focusing on gratitude and positive emotions
  • Fun activities to get to know themselves
  • Highlighting personal strengths
  • Recording friends and family in their support network
  • Gratitude prompts for building a positive outlook
  • Positive self talk affirmations
  • Kindness bingo to grow social connections and create positive emotions
  • Calming strategies to try

Grab the Resilience Journal for kids for free

We’d love to share with you and spread the calm capybara love with your kids too.

Yours in less screaming, more persistence and bounce back, calm and happy kids and gracious losers,

Brave Capybara

resilience journal

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