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Building resilience

How to raise resilient kids

Skills in resilience are promoted in NSW Public Schools because through them children fare well in life. Research shows children with good resilience perform better at school and are less likely to take part risky behaviour, particularly as they enter the teenage years.

The education department's principle psychologist, Ron Balderston, describes resilience as a shock absorber for the potholes of life.

"Resilient children know how to cope and have developed skills that enable them to flex so they can manage life's blows when they happen without them getting too down, stuck on ways that aren't helping or giving up," Ron says.

Andrew says learning to become successful is one of the most important aspects of building resilience.

"Success is contagious and if you have a feeling you can be successful in one avenue of your life then the likelihood of that ricocheting into other areas of your life is high."

Top tips on building resilience

Here are a few tips to help build resilient kids:

  • Teach your child to experience success by supporting them in something they like doing whether it's a sporting; or an academic or artistic endeavour.
  • Help them develop skills to be successful at school such as having a good concentration and memory by playing card games and puzzles.
  • Being able to read people's emotions is powerfully predictive of how well children can get on with people at school. Play games with your child by predicting what sort of day a person walking down the street may have had.
  • Be aware of the ‘yuck and yum' factor – some things will make your child feel good and other things will make them feel bad. The idea is for them to gather things around them that cheer them up if they've had a bad day.
  • Keep things in perspective – explain to a grumpy child their circumstances are not the worst possible, and that others have been through similar situations. Walk beside them as they handle the situation. This helps them to build hope and the belief they can handle problems when they come up.

Watch this video to listen to teachers talk about how you can help your child develop the skills to bounce back from disappointment.

© State of New South Wales through the NSW Department of Education and Communities.