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NASP Communiqué, Vol, 34, #3
November 2005

Promoting Resiliency in Your Child: A Tip Sheet for Parents

Resiliency is essential to success. Resiliency gives us the ability to deal with life’s challenges and adapt to new or difficult circumstances in a positive, productive manner. There are a number of ways that adults can help children become more resilient.

  • Be loving and supportive. Feeling cared for and safe builds resiliency in children.
  • Foster positive attitudes. Help children believe that they can succeed if they try. Frame failure as a learning opportunity. Teach them to re-evaluate and adjust strategies that may not be working.
  • Nurture positive emotions. Demonstrate and give children the chance to practice positive emotions such as optimism, respect, forgiveness, and empathy. Praise them for successes and avoid judgmental or harsh criticism for failure.
  • Reinforce emotional intelligence. Listen to and validate children’s feelings. Label emotions in words they can understand. Teach appropriate ways to express positive and negative emotions and how to problem solve and deal with upsetting experiences.
  • Develop their competence. Feelings of competence come from success in school and other activities. Ensure regular attendance and homework completion. Help them develop a menu of homework and study strategies. Encourage them to develop talents in activities they enjoy. Teach them to set realistic goals and obtain necessary resources.
  • Promote positive social connections. Children need a variety of friends, relatives and adults with whom they feel connected. Different people meet different needs and having a social network helps children feel supported and learn to develop and maintain healthy relationships.
  •  Provide consistent clear expectations. Set, explain, and enforce rules and expected behaviors consistently and fairly.
  • Encourage helping others. Social competence and resilience are fostered by helping others at home, in school, and in the community.
  • Teach peace-building skills. Learning how to be appropriately assertive without being aggressive, stand up to bullies, and avoid violent games and entertainment fosters resilience.
  • Ensure healthy habits. Good physical health prepares the body and mind to be more resilient. Help children get good nutrition, adequate sleep, and exercise.
  • Reduce stress. Controlling stress encourages resiliency. Practice positive stress control strategies such as meditation, controlled breathing, yoga, exercise, developing talents, and other “relaxation responses.”

Adapted from “Resiliency: Strategies for Parents and Educators” by Virginia Smith Harvey, in Helping Children and Home and School II: Handouts for Families and Educators, NASP, 2004.

© 2005, National Association of School Psychologists