What the experts say
Think back to your childhood and you may recall a mix of memories – you might remember idyllic family holidays by the beach, sadness when a beloved pet died, endless games of backyard cricket with your siblings, worries about school, and homemade birthday cakes. Sound familiar? As adults, we might look back on our childhood as a time when we were carefree and always happy, or we might recall times of upset and worry. We know from our own experiences that life’s ups and downs impact on kids too.
For children, life’s downs may include emotionally painful experiences like rejection or humiliation at school or an early childhood education and care (ECEC) service, frustration at not being able to get their own way or sadness when a friend moves away.
Good times and bad times are a normal part of life in childhood and adulthood; what’s important is our ability to bounce back from life’s challenges. Helping children develop resilience and build their coping skills means they’re more likely to experience positive emotions, which supports their mental health and wellbeing now and into the future.
What you can do
As a parent or carer, you play a significant role in the development of resilience in your children. Start by supporting your children to cope with small stresses, so that when bigger stresses come along your little ones can build on what helps them to feel better.
For example, you can help your child to feel less scared of going to a new place like a friend’s house by saying, “would you like me to come in with you the first time?” When they are confronted with bigger challenges like their first day at a new school or ECEC service, they will be better able to deal with the challenge of confronting something new.
You may also be interested in the following KidsMatter resource about managing life's ups and downs.