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How to build resilience?

One of the great aspects of resilience is that it’s focused on an individual’s positive skills. In psychology, the focus often tends to be on the negative or the risks. Studies focus on how to deal with trauma, what to do with negative feelings or how to cope with problems. All of these cases could use a positive approach. Research (Ungar, 2018) has shown that there are different things all children need to be resilient.


1. Structure

2. Consequences

3. Parent-child connections

4. Lots and lots of strong relationships

5. A powerful identity

6. Sense of control

7. Sense of belonging

8. Fair and just treatment

9. Physical and psychological safety



Let's have a closer look at the first concept, STRUCTURE.

Children want a reasonable amount of structure. It helps them to navigate through life’s challenges and shows that a parent is there for them, ready to guide them. 

Practical things you can do: 

  • Give your child rules: bedtimes when they are younger; expectations for chores and homework as they get older.

  • Be clear about how you expect to be spoken to, and model that same behaviour when speaking with your child. 

  • As your child grows, increase the decisions that they can make on their own. This also helps build their self-concepts, learning to make their own choice. This will help gain confidence, and if the decision turns into failure, they will have YOU to look after them.

  • When you tell your child they can’t do something, be sure your decision makes sense. If it looks like you are over-reacting you will lose credibility. 

  • Make it visual! Use a whiteboard of agenda to show your child what the week's looking like, so they know what to expect. Include your child as you fill in the week's schedule, make it into a fun little ritual, and your child will learn an important skill of organizing.


The other concepts will be further explained over the next few weeks.

For now, you can start with this little exercise to build resilience with your child. Sit down with your child and see if you can come up with these 4 tools: 

  • Having a HERO: For example, someone like your mother/father or Spiderman. 

  • Who is your hero: ………………………………………………….

  • Having a SAFE PLACE: For example, somewhere such as school/playground/church where you can escape the stress and feel safe.

  • What is your Safe Place: ………………………………………………….

  • Having a FRIEND: For example, knowing who your friends are and talking to them whenever you feel down, can help you control your feelings.

  • Who is your friend: ………………………………………………….

  • Having a GOAL: For example, helping others, be a good son/daughter/brother/sister, do well in school, be a good friend.

  • What is your goal: ………………………………………………….


Are you interested in the possibilities to implement the workshop into your school curriculum or community programme? Or do you have a question? Please don't hesitate to contact me at stijn@littlelionschildcoaching.com or via WhatsApp +31613236892.




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