How do you build resiliency in young children (birth to age 6)?

Resiliency is your child's ability to bounce back from things that challenge them. It is also a way for them to adapt to difficult circumstances in a positive way. It is important to help young children develop resiliency. This is a skill that develops as your child grows. There are many ways that you can help them do this and you can start before and during pregnancy.

Here are some tips:  

  • Learn healthy ways to cope with stress before and during your pregnancy.
  • Develop a strong support network for yourself and your family, so you have people to lean on.
  • Have realistic expectations of how your life will be once your baby arrives.
  • Look for a caring childcare provider early. Keep a close connection with them.  

Once your baby arrives, it is important to provide a safe and loving environment. When you respond in a caring and responsive way, your baby learns that their needs will be met. They will feel secure and loved. This will lead to a secure attachment. Things you can do to promote resiliency in young children are to:

  • Respond to your baby's needs in a calm manner
  • Understand your child's age and stage of development
  • Know your child's temperament. This way you can try different parenting strategies to see which ones fit best with your child's needs. Work with your child's strengths.
  • Encourage healthy eating, active play and sleep.
  • Have healthy routines for the whole family. Also get back to a regular routine as soon as possible after a stressful event, or be open to changing them. Routines are important. Know that you might have to create a new one.
  • Play games that involve taking turns, attention and memory. Your child's resiliency is closely related to their ability to think before they act. It also relates to their memory and their ability to focus, follow rules and plan. Your child needs these skills to help them succeed in school and in life. These skills also help your child adapt to changes in their environment, such as a stressful event.

Sometimes a stressful event may require you to get extra help for yourself and your child.

If you notice that your child is irritable or if their play involves parts of the traumatic event, please:

  • Talk to your health care provider.
  • Let your childcare provider know.
  • Talk to your support network about the event.

The best way to know how your child is reacting to situations is by observing and listening to them, and by being present in the moment. Also, keep the lines of communication open with the other people in your child's life.

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