By Marjorie Alcorn: Home Visitor Healthy Families Tennessee/Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee East Region
Resilience is defined as the ability to thrive, adapt and cope despite tough and stressful times. It’s a natural counterweight to negative events children experience commonly called adverse childhood experiences. The more a child learns to be resilient, the more likely they are to deal with negative experiences in a healthy way that won’t have unfavorable outcomes over their lifetime.
We aren’t born resilient. It’s actually a skill that can be taught, learned, and practiced. Every child has the ability to become resilient if surrounded by the right environments and people. As a parent or caregiver of young children, here are a few ways you can foster resilience in the little ones you love so much.
- Stable relationships: Developing strong, stable relationships with parents and caregivers helps to buffer stress that can harm children. Just being there consistently for your child makes a huge difference. It communicates that you will always be there for them especially when they get hurt or feel uncertain about what to do
- Safety: Building and nurturing a safe place for children to play offers an environment where children feel confident to explore and learn in the big world where they live.
- Loving touch: Young children need to be held and cuddled. It helps their brains grown and develop in healthy ways. That extra hug goes a long way and tells the child you love them no matter what.
- Interaction: Consistent, long term attention from caring adults actually increases your child’s capacity to learn. When a baby babbles and you babble back to them, you are building their brain. This interaction, sometimes called serve and return, is vital to healthy brain development.
- Self-esteem: Self-esteem begins to grow in a child with respect, encouragement, and positive role models from the beginning. Praising your child for their efforts to learn new things and mastering new skills, is building their self-esteem.
By committing early on in a child’s life to fostering resilience, we’re preparing them to deal with the difficult situations we all face as we grow up.
For more information on how you can foster resilience in your child, visit kidcentraltn.com or call Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee’s parent helpline at 1-800-CHILDREN.
This information was submitted by Marjorie Alcorn.