To be able to manage life’s challenges, emotional resilience is crucial. Resilience is a complex trait that can be influenced by both innate factors and learned behaviors. It involves the ability to bounce back from adversity, overcome challenges, and adapt to difficult situations. Resilience is a skill that can be taught be taught. Learning this skill is not always a straightforward process. Learn how to build emotional resilience in a child so they can face stress, difficult emotions, and more.
What Is Emotional Resilience?
Childhood presents many challenges, from entering new classrooms with new teachers to dealing with bullying and even problems at home. To be able to handle these issues in a positive way that promotes good mental health, children need emotional resilience.
Emotional resilience is the ability to adapt to trauma, threats, unexpected change, stress, and difficult situations. It allows them to regulate their emotions and use problem-solving skills to address the challenge.
It doesn’t mean that children won’t experience sadness or distress, but it does mean that these emotions won’t overwhelm them to the point where they can’t function.
Emotional resilience is something that children develop over time, but it can be supported. The support can come from anyone but is often given through parents and teachers. When children understand that they can choose how they respond to events that are out of their control, they will have an easier time meeting the challenges of life.
How Can We Support the Development of Emotional Resilience in a Child?
Lots of strategies can help when looking for how to build emotional resilience in a child. Teachers, school administrators, parents, and anyone else in the child’s life can help with this process.
If a child feels like they face every problem alone, every issue becomes insurmountable. Building connections with peers, teachers, and parents lets the child know that they have support when they need it.
A child who knows they have unconditional support will have an easier time reaching out for help when necessary, while a child who worries about negative reactions from parents and teachers will avoid turning to them for guidance. This feeling of isolation makes the anxiety and stress worse.
Connections also offer a child a sense of security and belonging, which also helps improve emotional resilience. Knowing they belong to a community that welcomes them and offers guidance helps a child understand they are not alone and provides a sense of perspective that allows children to step back from their problems and see them from another angle.
Promote Confidence and Healthy Risk-Taking
Encourage the child to believe in their abilities and try new things. It’s important to show them that healthy risk-taking is a way of understanding their limitations as well as their strengths.
A child who is not afraid of failure or disappointment or has confidence in their ability to manage setbacks will be more likely to try new things and will be more curious about the world around them.
A healthy risk helps a child step away from their comfort zone but doesn’t pose hugely negative effects if they are unsuccessful. Encouraging a child to speak with a shy peer or try a new sport are both excellent ways of promoting healthy risk-taking that can lead to confidence.
Teaching How to Ask for Support
Taking steps to build emotional resilience doesn’t mean the child has to become wholly self-reliant. That’s not possible for a teenager, let alone a younger child. Emotional resilience teaches them to recognize when they need help and reach out to people for that help so they can brainstorm solutions to their problems.
The more a teacher or parent provides this kind of assistance, the more tools the child will discover so that they can later help themselves.
Using problem-solving skills helps a child recover quickly from the emotional impact of a stressful situation because it encourages them to think of ways to approach the problem. It also helps solidify a more positive outlook because they tackle the problem with the attitude of finding a solution.
Teach Emotion Labeling
The moment that a stressful situation occurs, all kinds of emotions can rear their heads. This is overwhelming for a child, who may not know exactly what they’re feeling. By helping a child understand that all feelings are valid and important, they won’t shy away from labeling them. Once they know that they’re feeling anger or sadness, they will have a better idea of how to manage the emotion.
Emotion labeling is particularly helpful for children in the midst of outbursts or who are experiencing anger. This is because the process of naming the emotion helps calm down the region of the brain involved in these kinds of outbursts.
Model Emotional Resiliency
Children look to adults for cues. Teachers, school administrators, and parents all have to do their best to display the same strategies for dealing with difficult situations that they would like children to learn. Make sure to label your emotions and demonstrate breathing exercises or other ways that you help yourself through difficult moments.
Rachel’s Challenge Encourages Emotional Resilience
Helping children and teenagers become more emotionally resilient has all manner of benefits, including reducing the impact that unchecked negative emotions have on mood and behavior.
At Rachel’s Challenge, we offer programs for schools and communities that focus on building connections between students, teachers, and parents. We know how harmful feelings of isolation can be, especially for children, so we strive to create a more understanding environment.
To do this, we offer live programs for elementary schools, middle schools, and high schools. These modular programs help students see they’re not alone. For schools that can’t use our live programs or want to supplement the live program, we also offer digital options.
By turning to Rachel’s Challenge, your school or community can start building an environment of acceptance that allows all of its members to feel recognized and valued. This helps children build emotional resilience and find a healthy path to the future. Schedule an event with Rachel’s Challenge today or donate to our cause to help us create a safer future.