How to Help Children Build Resilience in Uncertain Times

Updated: Oct 24

Three children lay on the grass and two hold emoji faces to emphasize how to help children build resilience

It’s important to help children build resilience, especially during uncertain times, because the effects of childhood trauma can be long-lasting and detrimental. Here are some ways to do it.

Key takeaways:

  • Children today are living under the pressure of multiple crises.

  • Trauma isn’t necessarily about what happens, but the way it’s processed in the body.

  • Childhood trauma can continue to impact children into their adult lives.

  • Helping children build resilience is the key to overcoming trauma.

  • There are many ways to help your child build resilience, including by empowering them and helping them build emotional regulation.

Although many people make light of traumatic experiences during childhood by making jokes about them, childhood trauma is very real. Even if trauma happens when a child is very young, its effects can be long-lasting – even continuing into adulthood. Adults who experienced childhood trauma often experience higher rates of mental health challenges, physical illnesses, including chronic illnesses, and difficulty in relationships.

In a perfect world, no child would ever experience trauma. As a caregiver, it’s hard to accept, but your child will inevitably experience some type of trauma – perhaps even from something you’ve done, even if it was totally unintentional.

So, how can you help prevent trauma from wreaking havoc on your child’s life through adulthood? You can help minimize its effects on your child by helping him or her build resilience.

This is especially important during the uncertain times we are currently living in. Today’s children are living through crisis after crisis. They are faced with many pressures, including disruptions to their education from the pandemic, potential grief and loss, the fear of gun violence in schools, and housing instability, food insecurity, poverty, and many other things that can cause trauma. Let’s talk about how to help your child become resilient!

Childhood trauma explained

When many of us think of childhood trauma, we tend to think of obvious events like physical or sexual abuse. Childhood trauma doesn’t have to be something so drastic, though. Any stressful situation can cause trauma for a child. It can even occur when the event doesn’t happen directly to the child.

This is known as vicarious trauma. It can happen when a child witnesses or hears about something traumatic happening to someone else. A topical example would be children who become afraid to go to school after seeing reports of a school shooting. It’s important to remember that trauma isn’t what happened – it’s how the body responds. That’s why siblings who grow up in the same household may have drastically different outcomes d