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5 ways to develop resilience outside of school

Ever wondered how to teach a young person resilience? Or how to stop your child from exclaiming ‘It’s too hard I give up!!’ ? We have to develop and learn resilience. This can be done in a classroom, or at home.

Our Home Grown Skills resources help explore many life skills, including resilience. Someone who is resilient:

  1. Faces challenges and uncertainty with positivity and calmness

  2. Continues to try after experiencing failure

  3. Shows independence and ownership in decisions and actions.

Throughout life, your child will experience many failures (as do we all!). It is how we deal with these failures that defines us.

“Do not judge me by success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again” - Nelson Mandela

Here are some ways to develop resilience while being at home:

1.Teach Delayed Gratification

Part of being resilient is understanding that we cannot always have what we want as One simple way to teach this is instead of allowing your child to watch a full series of a TV show in one night, watch one episode of the series show every night.

A really simple way to teach this is in a turn based game - like a board or card game. Your child will have to wait until they can go next and try to win the game. Games also provide a good opportunity to practice failure and teach your child to continue after (although you might not want to play too many rounds!)

2.Move Towards a Goal

a. Teach your child to set smaller goals that lead towards a bigger goal. By breaking a big goal down and moving towards it one step at a time, this makes something that could feel overwhelming feel more manageable. Resilience can be built by taking ownership over their choices and actions.

Receiving praise for the small steps towards their goal will help your child focus on what they have accomplished and remain motivated. You could do this by creating a ‘Star Jar’ of accomplishments. This builds their resilience to move forward in the face of adversity and challenges. It will show them all they have overcome to reach their goal.


Being thankful for what the day has brought enables us to focus on the positive outcomes and fosters hopefulness. Instead of asking “how was school?” or “what did you do today?”, ask “what did someone do today to make you happy?” or “what did you do to make someone else happy?” . Re-framing your questions helps children to reflect on good parts of the day and to think about what they can do better for the next day.

4.Develop a strengths based approach

Taking a strengths based approach when communicating with your child can support them to approach challenges with positivity. Help your child to remember their strengths and ways that they have overcome challenges in the past.

If your child is struggling with work, you can remind them of these strengths to give them confidence in themselves and help them to overcome the challenge. This teaches your child to trust themselves to solve problems and make decisions. Making mistakes is an important part of growing and learning.

5. Encourage Connections

Encourage your child to create strong ties with family and friends. A strong social support foundation gives a sense of security that leads to positive values. It also allows your child to learn from other people’s mistakes, not only their own. Have an open conversation about a time you failed, or encourage your child to ask others about their failures. Learning about failure from a young age prepares your child for future challenges - which happen to us all!

These are just a few ideas to encourage your family to start thinking about resilience. The best approach will depend on the individual characteristics of your child. There are more resilience based activities available to download on our resources page.

Keep in mind there are more ways out there to develop resilience and that picking the best approach depends on the individual and characteristics of the child as well.

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