Dear CDA Families,
May is Mental Health Awareness. This month I would like to share about the topic of resilience and the importance of helping children develop it. Resilience is defined as having the ability to bounce back from difficult challenges and tough times, and often to be strengthened by and even transformed by those experiences. Resilience is something that can be developed, especially in the context of our environment and the relationships that help us to manage challenges effectively and teach us how to deal with stress or difficulties.
Strong relationships are the foundation of children’s resilience. A supportive relationship is key to helping our children build resilience and overall healthy development. According to the Center on the Developing Child (2015), “No matter the source of hardship, the single most common factor for children who end up doing well is having the support of at least one stable and committed relationship with a parent, caregiver, or other adult.”
Below are Some Tips to Help your Child Build Resilience:
1. Spending quality time with your child can help build emotional stability, increase self-confidence, and improve social skills.
2. Resilience requires supportive relationships. Connecting with others provides social support and strengthens resilience. Find ways to help your child connect and engage with others.
3. Support your child but try not to solve every minor problem or disappointment. For example, if your child didn’t get invited to a friend’s birthday party, you could talk about how they feel instead of trying to fix the problem.
4. Praise your children in ways that build their self-confidence. Be specific when addressing their efforts, for example, instead of saying, “good job,” you may want to say, “I really appreciate you taking out the trash.”
5. Help your child recognize their own efforts by asking them what they did to help them succeed.
6. Teach your child the importance of self-care. Caring for self by eating right, having fun, participating in activities they enjoy, and getting enough sleep will help them stay balanced and better able to deal with challenging situations.
7. Model learning from your own mistakes and also encourage your children to do the same. Mistakes are how we all learn and what you say when your children are present is important when things don’t go right.
8. When children face challenges, try to stand back and allow them to problem solve and then praise them for their efforts.
9. When children say they can’t do something, remind them that they cannot do it “yet.” Learning takes practice.
10. Find a positive role model who has experienced similar challenges as your child or share inspirational stories of people who overcame adversity.
11. Play is beneficial for children, it gives them the opportunity to build social (communication and collaboration), emotional (resilience and self-regulation) and physical (fine and gross motor) skills, as well as cognitive ones. Play time is a great way to give children the opportunity to problem-solve within their own environment.
As parents, we want to protect our children from experiencing any kind of challenge or adversity, but we know that facing life’s challenges is inevitable. There will be many opportunities for them to experience manageable challenges and with our help as supportive adults, this “positive stress” can be beneficial. Over time, they will learn to manage better and cope with life’s obstacles. When children learn to navigate challenges positively, it helps them build confidence and resilience.
Mental Health America
MHA’s 2023 Mental Health Month campaign is focused on how surroundings impact mental health, and we are calling for individuals to look around, look within. Learn more at https://mhanational.org/mental-health-month
Early Childhood Mental Health Services:
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Rady Children’s Hospital San Diego
Inpatient unit for children and adolescents up to age 18 with psychiatric illness.
Phone: (858)-576-1700 (24 hours a day)
ECS Para las Familias
Outpatient behavioral and mental health clinic. Bilingual therapists provide screening, assessment, family and group therapy, school observation, teacher/provider consultation, and parenting groups at PLF, in the child’s home or classroom. Ages 0-12yrs. Learn more at: www.ecscalifornia.org/para-las-familias
Phone: (619) 565-2650
Mi Escuelita Preschool
Therapeutic Preschool for children 3-5 in San Diego County who have been exposed or experienced family violence. Learn more at: www.sbcssandiego.org/mi-escuelita
San Diego Youth Services
East County Prevention and Early Intervention team works with children and their families to improve adult-child relationships both at school and in the home. Learn more at: www.sdyouthservices.org/services/mental-health
Phone: (619) 258-6877x 3253
The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn
What I Like About Me!, by Allia Zobel Nolan
All Feelings Are Okay, by Emily Hayes
The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain
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