Generally, resilience depicts the ability of a person to move from pressure to strength. Hence, the inability to exercise a trait like resilience can hinder an individual from achieving his goals.
Challenges are one of the most inevitable states of affairs we face as human, including children . However, building resilience in children doesn’t mean one is taking challenges away from their lives. Rather, it is about teaching them the approaches to overcome challenges at every stage of their growth.
Therefore, this article elucidates what resilience entails and its importance in early childhood development.
Table of Contents
Definition of Resilience
Resilience can be defined as a person’s ability to cope with and manage tough situations and pressures. It is the act of utilizing our mental state of being properly to shield ourselves from the aftermath of negative situations.
According to a research conducted by Wikipedia, when people are in tough situations, they approach such situations in three ways;
- Overreact as a result of anger
- Exhibit negative emotional effect like fear and anxiety.
- Challenges and difficult situation simply sadden/disappoint them.
However, resilient people possess the last point as one of their characteristics. During difficult situations, they simply become sad or disappointed and skillfully recover quickly from such situations. The inability for a person to exercise resiliency can affect a person’s critical thinking ability, which in turn births negative outcomes and regrettable actions.
Types of Resilience
– Emotional Resilience
Whenever you hear or see a phrase like ‘Emotional Resilience’, you can relate it to Emotional Intelligence. People who exercise emotional resilience have the notion that ‘tough times do not last, but, they just stay for a while.’ They know that tough times are one of the most inevitable existences human come across, which is one of the reasons why they exhibit a positive mindset towards situations.
Similarly, some children naturally possess emotional strength. They are the ones who get less saddened about hurting or disappointing situations. This however doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be developed.
An example is a child who faces bullying. It will not be easy for such a child to bear the recurrent tyranny of another child/children who abuses him physically or orally. Bullying cases on children, often lead to tension, fear, low self-confidence, self-contempt, and in some cases, casualty. Hence, one must not ignore the development of resilience in such victim.
– Mental Resilience
Mental resilience is the ability to use our mental sense to think critically, especially amid difficulties. It is the ability to understand situations from a deeper perspective that helps one to make a vivacious and accurate decision for a better outcome. For example, a child who loses a loved one will need mental resilience to overcome the pain of such devastating circumstance.
Another instance may occur when a child develops health issues and is unable to meet up with his academic scheme of work. Such a child will need mental resilience to be able to bear the situation and overcome it.
Mental resilience is the portrayal of mental strength by an individual. However, some of the hindrances to mental resilience include;
Focusing on plenty of things at a time.
Focusing on plenty of things overstrains the function of the brain. Those who do this end up not achieving results because they do not concentrate on a particular task. Rather, their mind is on different things which ultimately affects their productivity and output.
This is why children need to be thought how to schedule activities so that their minds can be properly focused for effective mental actions. As a matter of fact, overstressing the brain may lead to mental dysfunction.
Bad associations in this context refer to relationships that are unhealthy and harmful. For example, a person may be forced into bad habits (like taking hard drugs, smoking, alcohol, etc.) because of the type of friends he keeps. Also, some children face domestic violence in their environment because of the people they are surrounded with.
Research shows that unhealthy relationships can cause mental dysfunction, low self-worth, and fright in a child. Therefore, if such issues are not dealt with on time, it may eventually lead to worse cases like trauma and mental illness.
According to a survey carried out by ‘The American Journal of Psychiatry’, the unanticipated loss of a loved one is connected with consequent rises in signs of numerous cases of psychopathy. In essence, some persons who lose their loved ones experience some sort of disorders as a result of the shock.
Hence, caregivers and teachers must support a child who has lost a loved one to gain mental strength.
Engaging with people socially, is one of the major factors that can develop a person’s social resilience. In order words, one may not be able to exercise social resilience without being social. Your relationship with your friends, your team at your workplace, your family members, your neighbors, etc., all determine your social resilience.
For example, when an organization encounters some challenges, the way the personnel work together to address the problems for a better result determines their social resilience. Social resilience is also determined by;
- How people support themselves during challenges, and,
- How people react to the aftermath of disasters
In a nutshell, social resilience helps people to develop a positive and like-minded decision that fosters efficient outcomes.
Physical resilience deals with the ability of someone to recover from physical challenges. For instance, when children engage in sports competition, it can boost their physical resilience. Also, children who encounter Adverse Childhood Experiences can recover from the challenging situations they have experienced through their physical resilience.
What is Resilience in Children?
The need for a child to acquire and develop a resilient attitude cannot be overstretched. A child must be trained to process healthy emotional input and display healthy emotional output during tough conditions. One major benefit of this is that the child’s mental state, including the way he responds to challenges, will be gradually shaped and balanced.
Occasionally, children also face situations that could negate the growth and development stages of their lives. This include instances like, ‘Adverse Childhood Experiences.’
Adverse Childhood Experiences occurs when a child encounters forms of abuses and maltreatment, which could be physical or emotional. A child who undergoes such experiences is prone to having a negative mindset, low self-esteem, self-hatred, fear, unnecessary tensions, mood swings, etc. In fact, research reveals that it has been one of the major causes of mental dysfunction, bad health conditions, and untimely deaths.
Specifically, resilience is a process. Hence, discovering it as an innate element in a child is rare but possible. Typically, however, it needs to be developed in children timely. Some of the prerequisite of developing a resilient attitude in a child include;
- Teaching them emotional intelligence, intellectual intelligence, and physical intelligence.
- Ensuring that they have good/positive relationship with family, peers, and teachers.
Naturally, we all respond to circumstances in diverse ways and the same applies to children. The way a child will respond to a painful situation may differ from the way another child will respond. For example, while some children want to face their fears, other children want to run away from their fears.
To say that children can grow without facing challenges is like a misconception. From birth, till they keep developing, they will always encounter one or two challenges. Thus, it is our work to help them build the necessary skills that will boost their resilience.
The Importance of Resilience in Early Childhood in Early Childhood Development
One of the major influences that help children to develop resiliency is their environment. In essence, their environment is either caring, helpful, and understanding or ruthless, and unhelpful. What occurs in their environment determines their behaviors and stabilities.
Therefore, the growth of resilience in a child will boost his development in various ways as discussed below.
Building resilience in children will help them to be mentally stable. Children who are under pressure or/and stress may not be able to perform well academically and socially.
For example, research carried out by ‘Hey Sigmund’ revealed that consistent stress encountered by human often weakens the immune structures of the body.
Specifically, the brain is the most powerful organ in the body. It controls the organization and function of the whole body system. For example, the cerebral cortex is the part of the brain that is in charge of controlling cognition, expression, sociality, critical thinking, problem-solving, and among other functions that deals with reasoning and behaviors.
The fact is that stress can actually affect the productivity of the cerebral cortex which may disturb the output of all the executive functions listed above. However, whenever children are tasked and tested on a regular basis, it means their mental resilience is being developed. Such tasks include;
- Engaging them in social activities like playing games. For example, teaching them how to play puzzle is like teaching them how to reframe or to think critically.
- Building their learning activities like reading storybooks
- Teaching them morals and behavioral discipline in case of difficulties.
- Engaging them in planning activities to help them focus.
It is important to help children to be aware of their emotions for proper emotional management. It can also mean, helping children to face their fears rather than running away from them.
For example, in the 2017 Hollywood movie titled Wonder, Augie, despite his looks and the discrimination he faced from his peers, finally became the best student in the entire school because he developed resilience amid tough situations, with the help of his parents and some teachers.
Helping children to understand how they feel and why they feel that way will allow them to gradually develop emotional stability. Likewise, training a child to develop a positive mindset (if he has health issues) can boost his recovery. Typically, a negative thought which may occur as a result of fear or worrying may worsen his health situation.
Furthermore, it is important to train children to dream big, and be creative. In such cases, their skills, talents, and hobbies must be well nurtured. For instance, it is possible for a child who has the gift of singing to become nervous about singing because he/she has stage fright or can be extremely shy.
Thus, such condition must not be taken with levity and must be constantly addressed to build the child’s emotional stability.
Children must be thought to support and love each other, to give, to share, and to not see race or color. Also, they must be assisted in building positive relationships with their parents, caregivers, and teachers. The resilient ability of a child can be built if he has a helpful relationship with the people surrounding him.
When difficulties arise, the care the child receives may determine the way he will cope with the state.
Additionally, they must be encouraged to ask questions when they do not understand things and to speak out when things are bothering them. By doing so, their social skill and confidence will be fabricated.
Additionally, children must be encouraged to play with each other and speak to each other appropriately. Nevertheless, it is advisable to monitor children’s relationship with peers so that they can be influenced positively.
Physical stability depends on the health status of a child. Therefore, engaging children in sports activities and exercises help them to stay physically fit.
Also, ensuring that they eat healthy nourishments and observe healthy sleeping methods, regulates their body system properly.
Exercises of the mind also help children to have proper physical growth. One of such is the breathing exercise. Occasionally, you must encourage them to inhale and exhale their breath up to five times at a goal. Then, inspire them to gradually erase the thoughts that are bothering their minds as they breathe.
Also, it is important to connect their mind exercise to their body. One of the ways to do this is by allowing children to read superhero comic books and cheer them to strike a pose similar to one of the superhero character in the book. This is good especially when the children feel anxious or afraid about situations.
The well-being of children is one of our biggest priorities at Perfect Angels Learning Center. As a result, our caregivers carefully look into the physical, social, intellectual, mental, and emotional performance of a child.
This assists the caregivers to take proper note and care of any difficulty a child may be going through and take necessary and legal measures that will help the child to recover suitably.