From Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure: 50 Activities to Promote Resilience in Young Children by Nefertiti Bruce and Karen B. Cairone with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children: Relationships are the active ingredients in healthy human development. At their best, they promote competence and well-being, individualized responsiveness, mutual action-and-interaction, and an emotional connection to another human being--be it parent, peer, grandparent, aunt, uncle, neighbor, teacher, coach, or any other person who has an important effect on the child’s early development. In the words of the distinguished developmental psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner, “Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last, and always.” (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2004: Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships)
Here are 10 ways you can promote resilience in young children using supportive, caring practices:
1. Help children learn the skills and behaviors used to play and learn with others.
2. Know what is developmentally appropriate for children, and maintain realistic expectations for each child as an individual.
3. Involve children in setting a few positively stated rules and guidelines.
4. Support children in building trusting relationships with caring adults.
5. Support children’s growing independence and competence.
6. Help children understand their feelings and those of others.
7. Try to learn the reasons behind children’s behavior, understanding that children will use challenging behavior as long as it continues to get them what they want or need.
8. Support cooperation, guiding children as they learn to take turns and work together.
9. Teach children problem-solving skills and encourage them to use their skills to resolve conflicts.
10. Create a safe, fun, and nurturing community of caring in which children can play, work, and learn.