Building a close, loving relationship with our children is the most important thing parents can do to support children’s resilience. Why? Because children do best when they feel loved, understood and accepted and are protected from harm. Feeling wanted and loved helps us steer through all those bumps in the road.
We can also teach our children how to have caring relationships with other important people in their lives like family members and friends, neighbours and teachers. This helps them develop healthy and fulfilling connections with others. And it makes it easier for children to reach out when they need help.
Heidi shows how using storybooks can help parents connect with their children and teach kids about their own and others’ feelings. (2 min. 14 sec.)
Here’s what you can do
Comfort your child when he or she is upset. When children are hurt or frightened, sad or
angry, being comforted helps them feel as if they’re not alone with their big feelings. And
it helps strengthen the bond between parent and child.
Give your child attention and affection – lots of smiles and hugs. This makes your child
feel loved and accepted.
Play with your child – have fun together.
Listen with interest to your child’s feelings, thoughts and ideas.
Show empathy. Try to see things from your child’s point of view. Children need to know parents understand how they are feeling.
Help identify your child's feelings (glad, sad, mad, scared, etc.). Point out that others have these feelings, too.
Read or tell your child stories about people who show compassion, kindness and
understanding for others. Click here for children’s books about caring relationships.
My parents were yellers and screamers. And I still sometimes go back to that because it’s what I know. When I can be calm and be respectful of my 3-year old son and how he might be feeling, he responds so much better to me. READ MORE
Tips and Activities
Tipsheet on helping your child recognize feelings and develop empathy. EnglishFrench
this powerful video reminds us that relationships are at the heart of resilience
a delightful, brief video about raising optimistic kids
About Reaching IN...Reaching OUT
We help adults and young children develop resiliency skills. Children learn
resiliency skills by watching adults model them. This simple idea is
backed by 30 years of research and is the cornerstone of our approach.
We teach adults the skills they need to handle life's challenges with
resilience and show them how to pass those skills along to children.
Training fees and events offered directly by Reaching IN...Reaching OUT
are managed by Resiliency Directions Inc., a social entrepreneurship
dedicated to supporting resilience in people of all ages.