How to build Resilience in your child?

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as follows:

Resilience is a process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress- family and relationship problems, serious health problems or school or workplace and financial stressors.

Another way to understand and describe resilience is by this scientific formula:

Stress = Pressure



If I give you an iron sheet and copper sheet and one Hammer to hit those sheets, which is likely to crack first? The copper Sheet, right? It’s because the resilience factor of copper is lower than the iron. So, based on this formula, if your child has higher resilience, they are less likely to get stressed out, assuming the current pressures are high for them.

What can you do increase the resilience in your child?

1. Make sure they are getting good quality and quantity of sleep (8-10 hours):

This can be done by practicing sleep hygiene. Here are some principles of sleep hygiene to follows:

  • Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time

  • No exercise or stimulating activity- watching TV shows or screen time closer to bedtime.

  • Doing sleep promoting activities- warm shower before bedtime, reading, listening to soothing music, deep breathing and relaxation exercises, before going to bed.

2. Physical Exercise:

Research shows physical exercise helps with

  • Physical development

  • Emotional development

  • Moral development

3. Free/Fun Time with Friends and Family:

Plan for Family Fun day once a week on the weekend and do things that they like.

4. Adopt a positive attitude and Growth Mindset: Carol Dweck’s research shows that Growth Mindset helps students to deal positively with failure and enhances their motivation to succeed next time.

5. Praising the Effort/Process not the outcome:

Research paper by Carol Dweck and Mueller CM, shows six studies that demonstrated that praise for intelligence had more negative consequences for students' achievement motivation than praise for effort. Fifth graders praised for intelligence were found to care more about performance goals relative to learning goals than children praised for effort.

6. Find a Role Model: You are best role model for your child, so if you can demonstrate a lifestyle that promotes resilience, they will follow you. Of course, any other caring adult can be also their role model.

7. Practicing Gratitude:

Make a gratitude or blessings book and have them write one thing at the end of the day that they are grateful for. Have them read it When they feel sorry or complain.

8. Practicing Compassion:

  • Develop a routine to appreciate each other in the family every day during dinner time.

  • Share their acts of compassion/affection towards others during the day.

  • Helping them to appreciate everyone’s strengths and not focus on the weakness.

  • Teaching them not to judge anyone including themselves and learn to accept as is.

  • Tell them it’s ok to make mistakes and explain failure is part of life.

9. Relaxation Exercises:

  • Deep breathing- inhale at count of 1,2,3, hold your breath at the count of 1,2,3 and exhale at 1,2 and 3.

  • Alternate muscle contraction and relaxation-from toes to head

  • Using guided imagery to relax- imagine you are on a beach.

10. Practicing Mindfulness:

  • Mindfulness is paying attention here and now, with kindness and curiosity, and then choosing your behavior.

  • By using your breath an anchor, come to your still quiet place-” the pause between inbreath and outbreath”

  • Other ways to practice mindfulness is Mindful listening and Mindful eating

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