Teaching Kids About Resilience

Resilience, or the ability to bounce back from hard situations or roadblocks, is a word that comes up a lot of education. Many of our students go through hard experiences outside of school and all of them face challenges and roadblocks inside the school. We want our students to be able to overcome these challenges and face future challenges head-on with confidence. I teach kids about resilience in classroom guidance lessons and small group counseling sessions as a way to help them develop these important skills that can help them in and out of the classroom. Keep reading to find fun, hands-on ways to teach kids about resilience.

TLDR: resiliency can be built by

Want to teach kids about resilience? Try these hands-on activities in your classroom guidance lessons or small group counseling sessions!

Teach Kids About Resilience

1 – Supportive Relationships

The hallmark of resilience is having supportive relationships both in and out of the family unit. We want our students to have lots of people they can rely on and go to in times of struggle. I focus on directly teaching my students what supportive qualities actually look like because let’s be honest: some of them are going to people for support who aren’t all that supportive!

We talk about qualities like trustworthiness, honesty, loyalty, kindness, and more. Reading through scenarios and picking out the supportive or not-so-supportive qualities really helps them to grasp this concept and also evaluate where they are seeking support in their own lives.

Want to teach kids about resilience? Try these activities in your resilience classroom guidance lessons or resilience small group counseling sessions! Fun resiliency activities for kids at school or at home to help kids develop resiliency. Problem solving activities, communication styles activities, goal setting activities, and more.

2 – Setting, Planning, and Working Toward Goals

It’s great to have goals, but helping kids actually map out goals and plan how they will get there is a must! Being able to set goals and have a future focus can also help kids when they’re going through something hard now. We talk about small steps toward long-term goals, people who can help us at each stage of the goals, materials we’ll need, how to keep track of goals and monitor progress and more! Graphic organizers are great for this, but also being that supportive person to check in periodically and cheer them on is huge!

Want to teach kids about resilience? Try these activities in your resilience classroom guidance lessons or resilience small group counseling sessions! Fun resiliency activities for kids at school or at home to help kids develop resiliency. Problem solving activities, communication styles activities, goal setting activities, and more.

3 – Confidence in Strengths & Abilities

Self-efficacy is a major component of resilience. When students believe they can succeed, they’re more likely to attempt tasks perceived a challenging! Developing self-efficacy comes down to this:

  • learning from past experiences
  • learning by observing others
  • feedback from others with experience
  • imagining success
  • recognizing emotions connected to actions

In my counseling group, we do partner or team challenges in which students can share about their own past experiences, observe others, offer feedback to peers, and use this information to help them succeed in the moment. We also do a guided meditation to imagine success in some challenges the students are currently facing.

4 – Communication Skills

Assertively communicating needs is a must for developing resiliency. To teach this, we talk about different communication styles and then practice making assertive statements in different scenarios. Students can also share their own tough situations, and peers can offer suggestions for speaking up or responding in assertive ways.

Want to teach kids about resilience? Try these activities in your resilience classroom guidance lessons or resilience small group counseling sessions! Fun resiliency activities for kids at school or at home to help kids develop resiliency. Problem solving activities, communication styles activities, goal setting activities, and more.

5 – Managing Big Feelings

Self-regulation is an important life skill in all arenas. This isn’t something kids pick up in one classroom lesson or one counseling session, but ideally they get practice and reinforcement daily through classroom activities, literature, and more. In groups, we practice identifying emotions associated with struggles and identify helpful coping strategies. Learn more about teaching kids self regulation skills here in this free webinar.

6 – Problem Solving Skills

Problems come up, and facing them head-on with different strategies is a must! Teach kids problem-solving strategies like:

  • try multiple strategies
  • look at the problem from different angles or perspectives
  • be comfortable asking for help
  • use mistakes to help you move forward
  • and learn from mistakes

In the resiliency skills group, we practice this by analyzing scenarios and identifying at least 3 possible solutions to the problem. We also do STEM challenges to practice working in teams to design things with different approaches!

Want to teach kids about resilience? Try these activities in your resilience classroom guidance lessons or resilience small group counseling sessions! Fun resiliency activities for kids at school or at home to help kids develop resiliency. Problem solving activities, communication styles activities, goal setting activities, and more.

7 – Safety & Security

Let’s face it: many of our kids don’t have a sense of safety and security at home or they may not feel that way at school. Helping kids identify safe places and safe people can help them build resiliency. In counseling group, this looks like assessing a wide range of people and places and having kids identify those places, people, and things that give them a sense of security. We also practice safety planning, especially for long breaks from school.

8 – Sense of Humor

While we don’t want kids laughing through real pain, being able to find humor in little things goes a long way! In counseling group, we spend time closing with a joke from a joke book or reading hilarious stories like all of the Pig the Pug series! We also read scenarios and try to find one funny thing about it, even if it’s sort of hard.


Activities Picked for You

Teach kids about resilience with these activities:

Bounce Back Resiliency Skills Group Counseling Curriculum

Resiliency Skills Centers for Classroom Counseling

Read More on Counselor Keri

Want to teach kids about resilience? Try these activities in your resilience classroom guidance lessons or resilience small group counseling sessions! Fun resiliency activities for kids at school or at home to help kids develop resiliency. Problem solving activities, communication styles activities, goal setting activities, and more.
Want to teach kids about resilience? Try these activities in your resilience classroom guidance lessons or resilience small group counseling sessions! Fun resiliency activities for kids at school or at home to help kids develop resiliency. Problem solving activities, communication styles activities, goal setting activities, and more.

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