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Resiliency: What it is and how to build it

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Abigail Clark

I have worked in childcare at the WCA for nearly two years, and through my time have gotten the opportunity to work with some of the most thoughtful, creative, intelligent, funny and strong youth I have ever met. The joy these children are willing to share highlights one of the greatest skills I see commonly in our children: resilience. Resiliency is the ability to cope with and recover from hardships in life, and shows up in many ways every day in childcare, whether it be getting up from a fall and continuing to climb, rejoining a game of tag after feeling angry or rebuilding a tower after it falls.

While many children have a natural tendency towards resiliency, this may not be the case for all, and that is okay!  Resiliency is a trait that can be built and expanded. Child psychologist, Linda Chamberlain identifies the three main components of resiliency as confidence (belief in oneself), competence (recognition of skills had) and contribution (sharing one’s gifts with others). These are traits that already exist within children, they might just need some extra encouragement to feel and express them.  

Help promote resiliency in the children in your life by sharing when you notice them problem-solving or using coping skills, verbally acknowledging and praising talents, asking children to explain how or why they did what they did and inviting them to help or participate in activities with you. These practices will not only help encourage resiliency in the children around you, but they will also help build your own! Playing with and encouraging children helps connect adults to their inner child and reflect on the growth experienced, who their formative figures were and how perceptions have changed since childhood.  All of this reflection can help build confidence and competence while contributing to the well-being of our future generations.

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