Building Resilience in Children

At our school, during tours, professional development meetings, and day-to-day conversations, it is common to hear adults, when talking about children, to state with certainty, “Anything is possible.” “Children are nimble.” “They can do it.” and “Encourage them to try and they will.”  You also hear bemoaning about the constructs of fear, self-doubt, and anxiety, which hold children back. This leads to thoughts about building resilience in children. We know, as the author, Karen Young states in the article, “Building Resilience in Children – 20 Practical, Powerful Strategies (Backed By Science)” which appeared in Hey Sigmund, “All children are capable of extraordinary things.”

Among the things we help children learn, the ability to handle life’s more challenging moments – failure, disappointment, loss, tragedy, adversity… – should be the ability to breathe, assess, put into perspective, problem solve, regroup, and find resolve. The result is confidence, trust in intuition, courage, and greater satisfaction and joy. Resilience leads to a fuller and more adventurous life. 

We begin by explaining and demonstrating, through our actions and reactions, that stress, sometimes, given its clinical definition, mislabel as anxiety, is a normal feeling connected to everyday experiences. When children understand the feelings that come with stress, increased heart rate and energy and a desire to run or fight, are common and driven by their body chemistry and brain function they want to know more and are more likely to take control. They are more readily resourceful and resilient. At Voyagers’ children will play competitive games, climb to the peak of an Appalachian trail, walk to town for lunch, take a train to the city to see a play, work side by side with new people who serve as mentors, and speak to 100 or more people with confidence and joie de vivre.

Visit Young’s article to consider practical tips for building resilience in your child through careful thought, intentional actions, and love. We do all of these crucial steps at Voyagers’, are you ready for your child to experience the extraordinary?

Published by Peter Swain