Child Care

Supporting Resilience in Children

(from “Exchange Every Day”)


As Parents and caregivers, we try to keep children safe by protecting them from stress and trauma.  Unfortunately, it’s not always possible.  Adults can, however, promote resilience in children by fostering protective factors that can ease the negative effects of stress and trauma.  The American Psychological Association (APA) defines resilience as “the ability to adapt well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress.”  "Resilience is the ability to recover from or adjust to misfortune or change, bounce back, and overcome the odds," write Nefertiti Bruce and Karen Cairone, in “Socially Strong and Emotionally Secure.” They describe these protective factors that help strengthen resilience in young children:


Attachment: "The mutual, strong, long-lasting relationships between a child and significant adults...The attachment bonds that children form in these early years often predict the quality of relationships they will have throughout life.”

Initiative: "The child's ability to use independent thought and action to meet his or her needs....Strong initiative in the early years prepares children to safely, actively, and eagerly explore their worlds.”

Self-control: "The child's ability to experience a range of feelings and express them using the words and actions that society considers appropriate....Children with healthy self-control in the preschool years typically have strong interpersonal qualities such as self-confidence and self-esteem."

Children need high-quality care, opportunities for developing and maintaining relationships, adequate nutrition, and support from families, educators, and communities. When these and other protective factors are in place, children experience positive development and have the internal adaptive resources to cope with any trauma and stress they may encounter.

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