The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. One of the most significant changes for children was school closures. The long-term impact of these closures is not yet known, and may not be fully evident for a number of years.
A recent report from Ofsted looked at how children are recovering from the pandemic and found that schools are still dealing with the aftermath of lockdown. Inspectors said that the pandemic continued to hinder children’s learning and personal development, including attendance, wellbeing and behaviour.
Why is building children’s resilience so important?
All children will experience changes as they go through their lives and many will already have experienced some sort of loss – parents’ divorce, or the death of a family member or a pet. Whether children have suffered adverse effects from the pandemic or not, we know that it is crucial that they are supported by schools to build resilience skills to ensure they are able to deal with future difficult situations or circumstances and can adapt successfully to any challenges that they face.
Research on resilience shows that protective factors can protect children from harm and help them to bounce back in difficult times. Ann Masten, a pioneer in developmental psychology research, referred to resilience as “Ordinary magic.” While some children will have more of natural inbuilt resilience than others will, the factors that underlie resilience are skills which can be learned and a Partnership for Children we support schools to improve children’s resilience through our Skills for Life programmes.
5 top tips to help children develop their resilience:
- Build personal strengths Identify their strengths and look for regular opportunities to use them. Recognising their strengths help children to see them as valuable tools and using them daily can help them to build happier, more meaningful lives. The Coping Toolbox Activity Link - Here
- Have a positive support network Encourage children to identify family members and friends who support them and create opportunities to spend time with them. Accepting help and support from people who care about them will strengthen their resilience. Activities To Support Friendships- Here
- Be physically active Taking part in physical activity will not only keep them physically fit and healthy, but also helps build their self-esteem and confidence. Ways To Feel Better Poster - Here
- Practice Mindfulness Practicing mindfulness will bring children more into the present, giving them techniques for coping with negative emotions and increase their wellbeing. Mindful Walk Activity Sheet - Here
- Make plans Plan and look forward to future activities and events to build optimism and deal with current challenges. An optimistic outlook for the future helps children to understand that set backs are temporary and that they have the resilience to overcome current challenges. Something To Look Forward To Activity Sheet - Here
Partnership for children have a range of additional free activities for schools and families to use to support children's wellbeing and develop their resilience. You can explore these on the Partnership For Children website.
When it comes to measuring resilience and self-esteem, there are some fantastic, fully researched surveys preloaded into the BounceTogether platform. You can explore these and download some for FREE in paper-format by visiting the resources page.
Skills for Life
Partnership for children offer a fantastic Skills for Life social and emotional wellbeing school programmes for 5-12 year olds have been shown to lead to an increase in many of the skills that children will need to recover from the effects of the pandemic. These include: better coping skills, increased resilience, better social skills and improved emotional literacy.
To find out more about running Skills for Life programmes in your school, including our new programme SPARK Resilience for Years 6-7, visit our website: https://www.partnershipforchildren.org.uk/.