Building Resilience in Children

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At Worth-it we have developed our own way of supporting 1000’s of children to develop resilience. We apply this approach through a range of programmes, training’s and interventions, including virtual workshops.

What is Resilience

Resilience is essentially the successful adaptation in the presence of risk or adversity (Garmezy, 1986; Luthar, 2003; Olsson, Bond, Burns, Vella-Brodrick, & Sawyer, 2003). Resilience does not mean you are immune to stressful situations rather that you can overcome and deal with them.

There are numerous examples of children and adults who have “overcome the odds” of negative effects of risks. These people would be considered resilient. Rather than a single influence or factor, resilience is the outcome of a process that takes into account both the level of risk exposure and the presence of protective factors. These protective factors are often internal strategies and resources that come from within the child, although these come naturally to some children, they are skills that can be taught and learnt. School is a great place to learn the skills for resilience, which can be built on and developed growing up and into adulthood.

Research shows that the ability to navigate, overcome and recover from adversity is the key ingredient for happiness, success and wellbeing for children

Why is Resilience so Important for Children?

Resilience helps children gain skills for life that help them deal with, and manage challenging situations and circumstances that are unfortunately unavoidable in life. These can include managing unexpected change; going through life transitions, such as primary to secondary school; dealing with daily hassles, such as things not going to plan; or a range of stressors at school and home, including bullying, family and relationship issues.

Resilience also helps children to cope with unexpected traumatic events. The ability to deal with uncertainty, change and ambiguity are key skills. Learning skills for resilience from childhood through to adolescence can make a real change to a child’s outcomes and success in life.

Resilience is the distinct ability to recover from difficult events rather than an invulnerability to stress.

Resilience is a dynamic learning process that combines several internal mechanisms and strategies that children can draw upon when faced with challenges or adversity. Our approach helps children learn skills that develop these aspects of resilience.

What are the Main Components of Resilience?

  • Optimism – a sense of a positive future, a tendency to find positive meaning in experiences, and a belief in one’s ability to impact positively on one’s environment and situation.
  • Emotional awareness and control – the ability to understand how you feel and how to control the feelings that you express so that they remain appropriate for a given situation. This includes the ability to develop and experience positive emotions that are essential for wellbeing during times of challenge and adversity.
  • Impulse control – the ability not to rush into making decisions or take action without thinking. The ability to sit back and look at things in a thoughtful way before acting.
  • Empathy and connection – the ability to notice and correctly interpret the needs and wants of other people. To be able to put yourself in another person’s shoes and understand that you are not alone in your challenge. The ability to connect with others and have positive relationships despite adversity or challenge.
  • Self-efficacy – confidence and belief in your ability to solve problems and achieve goals for yourself. The belief that you can be who you want to be.
  • Flexible and accurate thinking – the ability to think about a challenge or adversity in helpful ways. Including being able to think things through proactively and finding multiple solutions to a problem.

How to Build Resilience in Children

Promoting and building resilience in children is key to our model of improving mental wellbeing at Worth-it. Our targeted resilience workshops for children as well as our training for staff addresses and offers tools and techniques to achieve the main components of resilience:

  • Optimism – our workshops encourage children to help themselves and to think positively about themselves and their situations. It also helps children recognise their strengths, feel good and notice the things that are going well in their lives.
  • Emotional awareness and control – children gain an understanding of their feelings and how to effectively manage and express a range of feelings in a healthy and positive way. Encouraging them to experience positive emotions is essential for wellbeing, especially during times of challenge and adversity.
  • Impulse control – children can sometimes find it hard to understand or control their reactions to situations which can often be unhelpful and impulsive. Our support encourages children to pause, think and act differently (positively) to these same situations.
  • Empathy and connection – we know that when children feel supported and confident in themselves, they like to make a difference to help their peers. Evidence shows that if children are connected to both school and peers in equal measure it helps protect against mental health problems developing in the future.
  • Self-efficacy – we provide techniques that help children develop as individuals, grow in confidence and nurture essential skills, tools and knowledge for life and its potential barriers.
  • Flexible and accurate thinking – we encourage children to learn several different thinking skills that they can use to manage situations, challenge negative and unhelpful thinking, and better understand themselves and others. We support them to use these thinking skills to become more self-aware and have self-belief in their abilities.

Resilience Training in Schools

We work with schools to support them in building the resilience of children and young people under their care. By working with them to provide effective resilience workshops, coaching and other mental health interventions that fit the requirements of Ofsted, the RSE and PSHE Curriculum, we enable them to empower children to manage even the most stressful and challenging situations.

We pride ourselves on our collaborative and evidence-based approach that has had a positive impact on the resilience levels of the children we have worked with in schools across the UK.

We’re here to help
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Contact us to discuss how we could help you build resilience in children in your setting.

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