Hints for helping our children develop emotional resilience
Resilience is the group of skills and qualities that lead children to be able to cope with difficulties in a positive way.
Resilience is important because it is the human capacity to face, overcome and be strengthened by or even transformed by the adversities of life. With resilience, children can triumph over trauma, without it, adversity triumphs.
How can we help them develop resilience?
- Providing children with consistent emotional support
- Working as a team. eg educators and parents. This is based on the foundations of understanding each other’s expectations and attitudes and build on the strength of each other’s knowledge.
- Adults believe in all children’s capacity to succeed
- Make opportunities and dilemmas that arise from diversity are taken seriously and action is taken to deal with unfairness.(EYLF, p.12 and 13)
- Our relationship with children influences how they learn how to regulate (manage ) their feelings. From babies talking them through what they are feeling and what they are doing provides foundation stones of learning how to regulate their feelings. E.g. `I know you would like to play with the car that Joe has now. Shall we ask Joe if you can have it next?Would you like to help me get the other toys out while you wait?
How does the preschool curriculum support this?
The new Early Years learning framework focuses on children developing a sense of belonging, being and becoming.
The Learning Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world, provide a framework for educators to use to support children in achieving this.
- Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation
- Children respond to diversity with respect
- Children become aware of fairness
- Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment.
Children feeling safe and secure
Children need you to make clear rules about what they are allowed to do and what they aren’t, because these boundaries not only help them fit into the world, but also to feel and be safe. When unsure about what limits to set, talk with other parents of children the same age and/or educators and you will get a general idea about what works’.(ECA, 2007, pg.21)
Children feeling loved and lovable
Children need to know they are loved(no matter what) and lovable (others want to be with and do things with them)
Preschoolers benefit from special time with a parent each day. Some ways you can do this are;
Make sure you show them you are pleased to see them and hear what they are doing when you return from somewhere.
Treasure the things they have made or tried. This will build confidence in their ability to create and learn
Listen to them.
Take some time to go somewhere special that they really want to go to.
Spend time with them at the end of the day. Eg bed time story and a wind-down chat
Use positive and supportive words when talking with them about their behavior and setting clear limits. E.g `You have lots of energy today. Shall we go to the park and you can run as fast as you can’(ECA, 2007, p.23)
It is very important for children to know it is ok to feel angry, sad, happy etc and know how to express these in a safe way. Bringing children’s attention to how their body feels can be helpful in developing positive ways to express their emotions. Acknowledgement of the body language of others is also important and assists children in their development of secure, respectful relationships with others.
ECA (2004).Understanding children’s feelings: Emotional literacy in early childhood.
Raban.Betal (2010).The Early Years Learning Framework in Practice, A handbook for educators and parents, Teaching solutions
Linke.P.(2006) .Everyday learning about children’s behavior, ECA
Linke.P.(2007). Everyday learning about confidence and coping skills, ECA
Linke. P and Radich.J.(2010) Children’s resilience, ECA