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Resilience - don't let things get you down

positive; thinking; self; esteem; safety; happiness; goal; setting; realistic; targets; sleep; resilient; resilience;


What is it?

resilienceImagine you have each end of a piece of elastic in your hands.

Pull your hands apart and the elastic stretches.

Let go of one end and the elastic bounces back to its original size.

That is resilience. (say re-zil-i-ens)

For people resilience means that whatever bad times you go through you can bounce back again and be yourself.

What helps you to become resilient?

To be a resilient person you need to feel good about yourself.

As a kid there are three areas where you spend your time – home, school and anywhere else!

The most important areas for children are home and school.

At home
Answer yes or no to these questions:

  • Do I feel safe at home?
  • resilienceDo I feel loved and cared for?
  • Does my family encourage me to do my best?
  • If there is a problem, do we talk things over?
  • Do I have chores to do which help the family?
  • Are there easy-to-understand rules and consequences (what will happen if the rules are broken)?
  • Is exercise a part of my day?
  • Do I feel happy at home?
  • Do people listen to me?
  • Do I feel relaxed at home?
  • Do I feel supported at home?
  • Do I spend time with all of the family?
  • Do family members listen to each other even if they don't agree?
  • Does my family do things together outside the home?

At school
Answer yes or no to these questions:

  • resilienceDo I feel safe at school?
  • Am I encouraged to do my best?
  • If there is a problem, am I able to talk things over?
  • Are school rules simple and easy to understand?
  • Are consequences for inappropriate behaviour clear and fair?
  • Do I learn how to set realistic goals for myself?
  • Do I feel supported?
  • Do I feel happy?
  • teacher assistanceDo I get positive feedback on my work?
  • Am I encouraged to take on a leadership role in the school? [Eg Student Council, canteen monitor, environment group.]
  • Do I get the chance to work with different groups of people?
  • Do I know what to do if I am being bullied or hurt?
  • Am I encouraged to try new things?
  • Is everyone encouraged to make positive comments, with no put-downs?
  • Am I encouraged to follow my interests?
  • Do I get to participate in decision-making in the class and the school?
  • Can I ask for and get extra help if I need it?
  • Am I encouraged to make good choices?

Anywhere else
We have laws in the community which are there to protect everyone.

Even if you make a mistake and break those laws, you are protected, because children have special courts and there are all sorts of people who can help you to work through the bad times and ‘bounce back'.

Are you resilient?

If you answered yes to most of the questions about your home and your school, then you are well on the way to becoming a resilient person. Why? Because you have people to love and support you, people who encourage you and people who are there for you when you need help or comfort.


Of course you too have to work at becoming more resilient.

If you said no to some of these questions, or even to most of the questions, you can still be a resilient person. In fact if you are coping with mostly no's then you definitely are resilient!

If you do not have support from home, then think about who your trusted friends are – maybe other people in your family, or family friends.

Maybe you have trusted adults at school or in the community. Have a talk to them about how you are feeling.

What you can do

1 To help yourself to be more resilient

  • resiliencePositive self–talk. That means: tell that voice in your head to think about all the good things around you and all the good things that you can do.
  • Set realistic goals, take small steps and build on success.
  • Make good choices.
  • Be a positive person. Compliment others and they will compliment you.
  • Make friends and work at being a good friend.
  • Join in – hang out with positive people, eg scouts, guides, youth groups and environment groups, sports players and friends who build you up rather than let you down.
  • Say "I can't do this ……..yet!" then try to learn a bit more each day.
  • Exercise, play sport, learn skills, be active.
  • Accept that you will make mistakes – say sorry to yourself as well as to others - then try to put things right and have another go.
  • Get involved in pleasant things like art, music, drama.
  • Give yourself time to think!
  • Have a go at new things, if they are safe of course!

2 If your friend is having a hard time

  • Keep asking your friend to do things with you.
  • Ask your friend to do active things too. Most people feel stronger (and more resilient) if they are fit and active.
  • Encourage your friend to try.
  • Be a good friend and listener.
  • Keep her secrets, unless they are unsafe secrets; if they might be unsafe then tell your trusted adult.
  • Tell the teacher if your friend is being bullied.
  • Say positive things if your friend is feeling sad.
  • Encourage your friend to get help.
  • Don't get upset if your friend wants to be alone. Tell her that you will be there for her if she wants to play or talk.

What some kids say

  • "Try to help your friend if she is having a hard time." Jaime
  • "Watching other people go through hard times makes you feel how lucky you are. You want to try harder yourself."
  • "If you don't do something right first time, don't worry, nobody can do something right every time. Just keep trying."
  • "If you are worried or sad, talk about your feelings with someone you can trust." Max
  • "Keep calm – if you make a mistake, admit it, then try again." Erin
  • "Don't lock yourself away from the world. Get out and join in with other kids." Jess
  • "Remember that everyone is different and everyone is good at something. Find what you are good at." Kellie
  • "Be happy with yourself and other people will want to be near you." Gemma

Poem - Resilience

Sometimes Life is hard
Sometimes Life’s unfair
Sometimes you feel really sad
And no-one seems to care.
When bad things happen to us
When everything seems ‘grey’
When nothing seems to work out
Then, that’s the time to say
“Time out”
“Think about”
“Try again” another way.

Dr Kate says:

Dr Kate"Everyone seems to be so busy these days. There are so many things that kids can do, that sometimes kids don't get enough sleep. If things are not going well in your life it is very important that you do sleep for long enough to give your body and mind time to rest and relax.

You will find that the saying "things will look better in the morning" is often true. Things may not be how you would like them to be in the morning, but you will have had enough rest to be able to cope. Your resilience will see you through until the better times arrive again."


resilience Remember: if you have worries or you don't feel ok, tell an adult you can trust. There is nothing too bad to tell and everybody needs help sometimes.


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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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