Emotional difficulties in young people, including anxiety and depression, have increased by 48% since 2004.

Life will always hold challenges and stresses, but parents can help their children to develop resilience, the ability to overcome difficult experiences and be shaped positively by them.

Top Tips to develop resilience:

1. Model Gratitude

Teach children to reframe their day by playing the question game. Everyone must answer three questions:

  • What did someone do today to make you happy?
  • What did you do to make someone else happy?
  • What have you learned today?

The game teaches gratitude, recognises kindness and promotes a positive outlook.

2. Quality Time.

  • Positive supportive relationships built through spending quality time make children feel safe and valued.
  • Chatting, listening and talking about feelings without distractions helps children feel nurtured and will help to develop resilience. This could be at meal-times, bath-times, walking to school, standing in queues – any opportunity to talk one-to-one and give focused attention.

3. Sleep

Lack of quality sleep causes stress. Limiting screen-time before bed is one of the fastest ways to improve sleep, ideally switching to ‘night-time mode’ earlier in the evening and banning screens for an hour before bed.

4. Exercise

Strengthens the brain as well as keeping children physically fit and teaches the body’s stress-response system to recover more efficiently – more fun when it’s done as a family!

5. Delayed Gratification

Understanding that you can’t always have what you want as soon as you want it! Playing board games, learning a musical instrument or a new sport, reading an exciting book in instalments – all these help to develop impulse control and the concept of delayed gratification.

6. Nutrition and a Healthy Diet

Eating good quality food helps send calm signals to the brain. Why not try to ‘eat the alphabet’ over 30 days. E.g. A for Asparagus, B for banana, C for chickpeas…. Turning healthy eating into a game could encourage children to try new foods.

(Top Tips adapted from article on The Stress Solution by Dr Rangan Chatterjee ‘The Guardian Weekend’ 5th January 2019)