Building Resilience

​Resilience is the ability to cope and thrive in the face of negative events, challenges or adversity. You can play an important role in enhancing your child's resilience.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to cope and thrive in the face of negative events, challenges or adversity.

Key attributes of resilience include:

  • social competence
  • a sense of agency or responsibility
  • optimism
  • a sense of purpose or hope for the future
  • attachment to family, to school and to learning
  • problem-solving skills
  • effective coping style, pro-social values
  • a sense of self-efficacy
  • positive self-regard.

Research shows that young people with strong social and emotional skills are more likely be resilient.

Challenges to resilience

Research shows that children experience a range of concerns and stressors:

  • mental health problems
  • uncertainty
  • trying new things
  • bullying
  • school and study problems
  • body image

Building resilience at home​

You can play an important role in supporting your child’s social and emotional learning.

Emotional literacy

Emotional literacy (often referred to as emotional intelligence) is our ability to recognise, understand and appropriately express our emotions. It is also the ability to recognise the emotions of others and to respond to them appropriately. Families have an essential role to play in supporting children and young people's emotional literacy.

Children and young people experience a range of positive and negative emotions. This is normal and healthy. Each person will feel and express these emotions differently.

You can support your child through:

  • role modelling - how you express and manage emotions influences how they learn to express and manage their own emotions
  • helping them name their positive emotions (such as proud, interested, excited, relieved) and negative emotions (such as angry, lonely, afraid, disappointed)
  • recognising and naming your own feelings and emotions
  • creating spaces for regular communication
  • validating your child or young person’s feelings
  • guiding them towards appropriate expressions of emotions
  • setting consistent, clear and supportive boundaries for the expression of emotions.

For more information, see: Emotional Literacy (docx - 4.24mb)

Problem solving

Problem-solving is an important life skill. It useful and important for children and young people to be able to:

  • recognise and name a problem
  • understand who is affected by the problem
  • understand and communicate about the emotional responses people might have to the problem
  • work out what the different options are that they could use to solve the problem
  • predict what the consequences might be for each different option.

Strategies to teach problem-solving include:

  • naming or defining the problem
  • brainstorming the options
  • predicting the consequences of the various options
  • thinking about the positive or negative features of each option
  • assessing whether or not ideas are practical
  • working out what strengths and resources are needed to carry out a particular choice
  • choosing the best option
  • deciding what would need to be done, by whom and when
  • trying out the option.

For more information on problem-solving, see:Problem-solving (docx - 4.29mb)

Stress management and positive coping

When children and young people develop language around coping and stress, they are more likely to be able to understand and deliberately use a range of strategies to moderate the impact of stress on their overall wellbeing and behaviour.

Coping strategies

Coping strategies are the thoughts, feelings and actions that we use to help deal with the challenges, stresses and demands we all face. They include the things we do to:

  • help us to calm down
  • cheer up
  • confront fears
  • deal with challenges
  • work at a problem
  • continue to work hard at something even when we don't feel like it.

Some coping strategies are more productive than others. We need to be able to use a range of strategies to help us deal with life and its challenges.

Children and young people tend to learn how to cope by copying the strategies that they see others use. They can also learn new strategies when provided with activities which assist them to reflect on what works and to try new techniques.

You can help your child to recognise their stressors and develop positive coping styles. For more information on this and to access a series of activities and strategies, see:

Building resilience at school

Building Resilience

Schools can enhance resilience through programs that build positive and social norms and generate a sense of connectedness to teachers, peers and the academic goals of the school.

Schools are encouraged to use the Building Resilience Model, an evidence-based approach to developing social and emotional learning skills and enhancing resilience.

It recommends school-wide approach to supporting resilience and engagement, which has a positive impact on social and academic outcomes.

Working with your child's school to enhance resilience

Students learn better when parents and teachers work in partnership to support their wellbeing and learning.You should talk to your child's school about the SEL programs in place.

For more information, see:

Downloadable resources

To help families build resilience in  at home, a range of information sheets are available.

More information