Resilience…..grit…..the latest buzzwords….how do we build it in our children?


Events like cross country are a great opportunity for our students to showcase their resilience. We are not talking about the children who made it over the finish line first. Although we celebrated their excellence in running, they were not necessarily our most resilient.


Resilience was reflected in a multitude of ways on the day.

  • The child who decided to turn up for the race and give it their best even though they knew running was not their thing and they would probably come near the end of the pack. It’s much easier to put in the effort in an area you know you’re good at.

  • The child who fell over at the start of the race but didn’t give up and kept going.

  • The child who was passed by a group of their peers early in the race deciding to tough it out and worked hard the whole race to catch up.

  • The child who didn’t do as well as they anticipated and felt gutted about it but shrugged their shoulders thought about what they would do next time and decided to enthusiastically cheer on their peers.

We all recognise the importance of resilience but what can we do as parents and teachers to help develop it in our children?

  • Avoid eliminating all risks/problems for them. We don’t like to see our children struggle or get upset but life can be tough and it is vital for them to experience struggle and come through the other side so they know they can handle it.  

  • Use language that hands them the power- avoid talking in catastrophic terms - “you’ll be fine”, “keep trying”, “you can’t do this yet”, “don’t worry about it, everyone makes mistakes”, ‘what are you going to do differently next time” are all powerful positive words from a parent and/or teacher.


  • Encourage children to problem-solve for themselves- try not to fix problems for them for example children fighting- “You guys can figure this out, come back to me with your plan.”

  • There are lots of mistakes that are okay to let your kids make.  If you let them experience the consequences they will learn the lesson they need to learn more quickly.


  • Remember we don’t need to accommodate a child’s every need- it doesn’t hurt them to wait - whether this is for a new game or toy, for us to stop talking to another adult or just having to wait for our attention while we finish what we are doing.

  • Give them permission to fail- focus on the effort they have put in, not the end result.


Resilience quote 1