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How to Help Your Child Build Emotional Resilience

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According to Jones (2021), an international survey conducted across 72 countries found that Singaporean students have reported higher-than-average stress and anxiety level. There can be many stress triggers, such as academic results, transitional changes, family situations, environmental situations, or relationships with others (MedlinePlus, 2022).

To enable children to continue thriving in an increasingly stressful society, they need to develop emotional resilience, which will allow them to be able to respond to and cope with stressful situations. Here are some ways you can help your child build their emotional resilience.

  • Encourage your child to build a good support network

One common attribute of resilient people is that they have good support networks (Grant & Kinman, 2014). A good support network consists of family support and support from others whom a person trusts and relies on (Patino, 2020). Encourage your child to widen their social circle so that they have more people they can seek help from.  Learning to make and sustain friendships helps them to develop their listening and empathetic skills (American Psychological Association, 2020) and builds up their self-esteem and self-reliance (Patino, 2020).

Parenting tips: Children love interesting activities. You can find them making friends while playing at the playground or during activities in school. To have a good support network requires the child to know how to build this network positively. Parents can start by teaching their children how to make friends when they are ready to go to playgroups. Use role-playing activities to teach your child how to make friends and maintain good relationships. For example, parents could pretend to be classmates and demonstrate how to converse to make friends and what are good behaviours that will maintain good relationships (e.g., sharing, no snatching, no hurting someone, etc.). Children and teenagers learn better through experiencing physical activities compared to verbal explanations and teaching.

  • Help your child to maintain a positive perspective

Another common attribute of resilient people is that they know how to maintain a positive perspective in most situations (Scott, 2020). When going through a challenging situation, it can be helpful to see beyond the problem and look at the positive aspects instead (American Psychological Association, 2020; The Children’s Society, 2022). Instead of being too worried about the situation, help your child visualize some of the positive outcomes they would like to achieve (Robinson & Smith, 2021). This can help them remain positive, even when a solution hasn’t been found.

Parenting tip: Use books, cartoons, or movies that promote positive attributes for younger children (3 – 8 years old). Read and watch with them, and subsequently talk to them to magnify the positive attributes. With older children, including teenagers, share positive perspectives with them through their daily experiences. It can be the videos they watch or the posts they see on social media. Instead of telling them what they should do or watch, create discussion among these topics and hear their views. Let them have more ‘airtime’, listen to their opinions, and take a look from their perspective. Healthy discussion can show them alternate positive perspectives.

  • Build self-confidence in your child

Resilient people are also found to have confidence in their own strengths (Scott, 2020). You can help your child build their self-confidence by getting them to recall past similar situations that they have already overcome. This will enable them to see that past challenges can also be learning points in teaching them how to handle future challenges (American Psychological Association, 2020). This builds the confidence in your child to be able to handle future similar challenges that come their way.

Parenting tips: Expose and teach your younger child new skills. It can be learning a new sport, doing household chores, or participating in hobbies. Encourage and guide them through their learning process and celebrate with them when they have achieved it within their limits. Parents’ consistent support to the child is the key to building their confidence.

  • Teach your child self-care

Engaging in self-care is also essential in keeping our body and mind healthy and can help reduce our stress and anxiety levels (Glowiak, 2020). Teach your child how to engage in self-care, such as ensuring that they set aside enough time to eat and sleep and allowing your child free time to enjoy activities they are interested in (American Psychological Association, 2020). This gives them time to take a break and recharge themselves while destressing.

Parenting tips: A healthy sleeping routine is crucial for younger children. A healthy sleeping routine must be consistent and should not be disrupted too often. First, fix the time that you want your child to be ready in bed. Second, list down the things your child needs to do before bed (e.g., brush teeth, prayers, change to pyjamas, etc.).



9.00 pm

Change pyjamas

9.05 pm

Brush teeth

9.10 pm

Bedtime story

9.20 pm


9.30 pm

Lights off

Consistency will create good sleeping habits for the child. Every activity in the routine prepares your child for sleep.

For older children or teenagers, discuss with your child by asking them what they have done previously to help them feel relaxed. If they do not have any, expose them to different self-care activities (e.g., listening to music, running, drawing, journaling etc.) so they can identify their own self-care activity.

While stressors are inevitably part of life, it is possible to build resilience to better cope and live alongside these situations. Help your child build their emotional resilience today by providing them with the nurturing environment they need to grow and thrive.

If you are interested to find out more about our FREE parent support services, please email us at [email protected] or call 88694006.  You can also register your interest at https://go.fycs.org/PSS


Written by Clara Ang, Programme Officer and Jazon Ho, Counsellor, Fei Yue Community Services



American Psychological Association (2020). Resilience guide for parents and teachers. Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/topics/resilience/guide-parents-teachers

Glowiak, M. (2020, April 14). What is Self-Care and Why is it Important For You? Retrieved from: https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-self-care#:%7E:text=Engaging%20in%20a%20self%2Dcare,%2C%20improve%20energy%2C%20and%20more

Grant, L., & Kinman, G. (2014). Emotional Resilience in the Helping Professions and how it can be Enhanced. Health and Social Care Education, 3(1), 23–34. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.11120/hsce.2014.00040

Jones, C. (2021, January 11). Singapore’s Efforts to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Among Students. The Earth Awards. Retrieved from: https://www.theearthawards.org/young-singaporeans-are-stressed-and-anxious-singapores-strategies-to-protect-the-mental-health-of-students/

MedlinePlus (2022, February 18). Stress in childhood. Retrieved from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002059.htm#:~:text=Pain%2C%20injury%2C%20illness%2C%20and,school%20and%20work%20or%20sports

Patino, E. (2020, October 22). 4 ways to help your child build a support network. 4 Ways to Help Your Child Build a Support Network. Retrieved from: https://www.understood.org/articles/en/4-ways-to-help-your-child-build-a-support-network

Robinson, L., & Smith, M. (2021, November). Surviving Tough Times by Building Resilience. HelpGuide.Org. Retrieved from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/surviving-tough-times.htm

Scott, E. (2020, April 28). Why Emotional Resilience Is a Trait You Can Develop. Verywell Mind. Retrieved from: https://www.verywellmind.com/emotional-resilience-is-a-trait-you-can-develop-3145235

The Children’s Society (2022). Emotional resilience. Retrieved from: https://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/information/young-people/well-being/resources/emotional-resilience