Tough Tots – Raising Resilient Children

What is resilience and why is it important?

Children that are resilient have life skills that enable them to cope in a variety of situations. They are able to find solutions to problems through perseverance and persistence. Resilience builds self awareness skills, self esteem and boosts motivation. In children, it is the ability to bounce back from situations that have made them feel sad or scared. Like failure, setbacks and rejection. It doesn’t mean that everything should just go back to normal. It’s about the process and how children learn from it.

For example: A child is learning to ride a bike. He has rolled over a brick which has caused the front wheel to jam. This causes him to fall. He knows that next time he rides his bike, he must take extra care to avoid bricks. He doesn’t hesitate to get back on his bike and try again. This child is showing resilience by overcoming failure and finding a solution to the problem.

How can you raise resilient children?


Allow children to be in situations and have a go at activities that are slightly difficult and encourage adventure. Guide and support them through the task at hand. Offer advice but do not do it for them. Step in when necessary. This encourages children to think for themselves, to be persistent and problem solve. Provide safe opportunities that allow them to fail in a way in which they can learn, overcome and adapt. Do not present them with situations that you know they cannot succeed in. Many other benefits that come with challenging play are:

  • Developing balance and coordination skills
  • Developing gross and fine motor skills
  • Learning about their bodies and limitations
  • Build confidence and independence
  • Develop problem solving skills
  • Widen curiosity and inquisitiveness


Some actions will have negative outcomes, so it’s important to share these with your child. It’s important to find strategies that lead to positive outcomes. Help your child to make sense of what they could have done differently and talk about the things they could do better next time. Do not make your child feel bad about doing something wrong, instead use positivity and encourage them to try again. This will motivate and encourage your child.


Communication is key. If your child is becoming frustrated with the task at hand, offer them coping techniques. Don’t rush in and do it for them. Encourage them to stop and think about what they could do differently. Be honest. This will provide your child with a sense of security as they seek reliable advice and information from you. Praise and encourage your child’s efforts regularly. Avoid over praising your child’s achievements as this can raise the bar of expectations for outcomes pretty high.

Teaching means creating situations where structures can be discovered.

Jean Piaget