5 Resilience-Building Exercises for Children

Here at LitWorld, we believe there are simple actions that we can take each day to help our children build resilience. We have designed our LitClubs and LitCamp programs to incorporate seemingly straight forward ideas that provide our kids with the emotional support and space to grow their confidence and courage. However, these moments don't just occur at camp, school, or after school. Here are 5 resilience-building exercises that you can practice in your home.

1. Time for Play

In our busy lives, we often forget the crucial role of play for everyone in our home - except perhaps for our pets! No matter how much activity we feel our kids are getting at school, it is important to designate time each day at home for play. Whether outside or inside, having time and space to move freely and think creatively helps the home feel like a special, relaxing, and fun place to be. Play allows our children to take a break from their stressful lives to just be kid.

2. Reading Aloud at ALL Ages

There is no need to belabor the importance of reading to parents. We know the importance of having books in our home and setting an example for our children by being avid readers and encouraging our children to read themselves, or reading together if they are not yet old enough to read independently.  However, many of us forget the important and intimate nature of reading aloud once our children can read on their own. Reading aloud is a sacred act, one that allows us to share in the joy of storytelling with our children, and encourages us to build our own stories outside of the read aloud together.  Through the plots and characters in our favorite picture and chapter books, our children learn the coping mechanisms they need to become resilient and clear their own hurdles. Take the time to read aloud as a family, even after your child can read independently.

3. Write it Down

If Reading is breathing in, than writing is breathing out. Just as we must make time for reading aloud together each day in our home, so too should we allot time for quiet reflection. Encouraging our children to journal helps them to process their daily personal experiences, reflect on moments of learning (even ones they might not yet recognize!), and build their own personal narrative. It is this personal narrative, this history, this story, that will serve as the strongest tool in their tool belt for overcoming the challenges they will inevitably face on their path to adulthood.

4. Create!

In our busy lives, creative and artistic pursuits are often, and unfortunately,  relegated to the status of "hobbies." Projects may go unfinished, plays unwritten, and art pieces unseen at the back of our closets. These "hobbies" provide valuable means of expression that are crucial to our children's development.  Allotting time to be creative in our weekly (if not daily) lives will help our children build a strong sense of self - who they are, what they love, and how they interact with their world - which all combine to build resilience.

5. Praise

From high fives to thank you cards, the importance of praise cannot be underestimated. Finding small moments each day to praise your child for exemplifying the values your family adheres to is an important way to build your child's self confidence. Whether you take a moment each night at dinner to share what you appreciate about each member of your family, or take time with your loved ones before bed to share moments of admiration you held for them throughout the day. Making praise a habit encourages our children to see their world, and the people in it, in a different light.