How can I help build my toddler’s resilience?

Resilience is our ‘bounce-back ability’. It’s how we cope with challenges, and how we move on from them.

As a parent or carer, you can help to teach them how to cope and learn from their experiences. This will help your child be curious and brave, and trust their instincts. They’ll learn their limits and push themselves out of their comfort zone when they’re older.

Build loving relationships

Creating safe, loving relationships makes children feel good about themselves. They know someone is there to protect them and help when things go wrong. This will give them the confidence to continue exploring their world.

Be a role model

Children learn from the adults around them. When you cope well with everyday stress, you’re showing your child how to do the same. Think about how you’re reacting to different situations, and what your children see.

Help with problem-solving

Support your child’s thinking and problem-solving skills. Play thinking games with children aged three and over. There are no right or wrong answers. Try asking them:

  • “What do you think will happen if……?”
  • “What are you saying to yourself in your head?”
  • “If you were a superhero, what would you do?”

Offer support

Let your child know it’s OK to ask for help. This will make it easier for them to ask for help in the future.

If they find it difficult to communicate, agree on a signal for them to use. This might be a code word, or they could put a toy in a spot you choose together.

Build their confidence

Show them you’re proud of them to help them build confidence. If your child finds something hard, encourage them to keep trying. Say things like “You can do it!” or “Well done for trying so hard!”

Be aware of self-esteem and how the messages you give your child can support it.

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This advice was written by our experienced Parent Talk coaches. Parent Talk is a free online service for parents and carers, provided by the charity Action for Children. For more advice, message our parenting coaches with our online chat.

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