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Virtual Kit: Building Resiliency in Children and Families

Kit QT

What is resilience? The information and resources below will provide a number of different definitions, which all amount to, the ability to bounce back after adversity.  Resilience can be taught, nurtured, and strengthened in all children (and adults), at any time, if they are provided the needed skills and strategies. 

Why resilience? Over the course of three decades, research has brought to light the prevalence, and subsequent effects of, adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and childhood toxic stress faced by the children we serve every day. Research has shown a direct connection between adverse childhood experiences (i.e., sexual abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, a mentally ill or alcoholic parent, witness to domestic violence, family member that has been incarcerated, a loss of a parent through divorce or abandonment, and emotional and physical neglect) and adult onset chronic disease, mental illness, doing time in prison, and work issues like absenteeism. (Stevens, 2013a). In addition, research has shown an association between ACEs and below-average, teacher-reported academic and literacy skills and behavior problems in kindergarten. (Jimenez, Wade Jr., Lin, Morrow, & Reichman, 2016).

(To read more about ACEs and toxic stress: The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study - the largest, most important public health study you never heard of - began in an obesity clinic)

Research data show, time and again, that the most important factor affecting a child’s ability to build and maintain resilient behaviors is the presence of at least one stable, committed relationship with an adult. (Center on the Developing Child, 2017a; Beardslee, Watson, Auoub, Watts, & Lester, 2010; Grotberg, 1995; Pizzolongo & Hunter 2011; Rutter, 2000; Stevens, 2013a).  As early childhood educators, it is our responsibility to understand the science behind resilience, the skills and strategies needed to teach resilient behaviors to children and adults, along with, the practical implications the influence of resilient children have upon our classroom environments.

This Virtual Kit on Resilience was designed to provide early childhood educators the scientifically-backed information and guidance on promoting and nurturing resilient behaviors in young children. 

Show Me Now – I Need It Tomorrow

Building Resilience in Children - 20 Practical, Powerful Strategies (Backed by Science)

Raising Happy Kids: Building Resilience in Children

Key Concepts: Resilience

What Does This Look Like In Practice? (I Have A Little More Time To Read About This)

InBrief: Resilience Series (videos)

Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health: Center for Resilient Children

Building Resilience in Young Children: Booklet for Parents of Children from Birth to Six Years

Compendium of Selected Resilience and Related Measures for Children and Youth

What Does The ECRC Have On This Topic?

Below are selected resources from the Early Childhood Resource Center. For additional related resources go to the KITS Early Child Resource Center and click on ECRC catalogue, or call (620) 421-6550 ext. 1638 for personal assistance.

Ginsburg, K. (2014). Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings, 3rd edition. American Academy of Pediatrics.

Hanson, M., & Lynch, E. (2013). Understanding Families: Supportive Approaches to Diversity, Disability, and Risk. Baltimore: P.H. Brookes

Kisor, D. (2006). Songs of Resilience Tips for Teachers. Covington: KY Children’s Inc.

Kisor, D. (2010). Songs of Resilience: Volume II. Covington: KY Children’s Inc.

LeBuffe, P., & Naglieri, J. (1999). Devereux early childhood assessment guide. Lewisville, NC: Kaplan Press.

Mackrain, M., & Bruce, N. (2013). Building Your Bounce: Simple Strategies for a Resilient You, 2nd Edition. Lewisville, NC: Kaplan Press.

Simeonsson, R. (1994). Risk, Resilience, and Prevention: Promoting the Well-Being of All Children. Baltimore: MD Brookes Publishing.

Seligman, M. (2007). The Optimistic Child: A Proven Program to Safeguard Children Against Depression and Build Lifelong Resilience. Mariner Books.

Zeitlin, S. (1994). Coping in young children: early intervention practices to enhance adaptive behavior and resilience. Baltimore: Brookes.

How Can I Find Training Materials On This Topic?

Reaching In.....Reaching Out: Training Overview

Positive Teacher Network: Three-part video series on Mental Resilience and Wellbeing

Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning: Infant/Toddler Modules

Devereux Center for Resilient Children: Informational Webinars

What If I Still Need Help?

You may request technical assistance from the KCCTO-KITS Infant Toddler Network Specialists by calling the KCCTO office at 800-227-3578.


Please take a minute to complete a brief survey to let us know what you think about this virtual kit, and what other topics you would like to see addressed in the future.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C9SML3H


Beardslee, W., Watson, A., M., Auoub, C., Watts, C., & Lester, P. (2010). Building Resilience: The Power to Cope with Adversity. Zero to Three. Retrieved from https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/357-building-resilience#downloads.

Center on the Developing Child. (2017a). Key Concepts: Resilience. Retrieved from http://developingchild.harvard.edu/science/key-concepts/resilience/.

Center on the Developing Child. (2017b). InBrief: Resilience Series. Retrieved from http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/inbrief-resilience-series/.

Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. (2013). Overview of Adverse Child and Family Experiences among US Children. Data Resource Center, supported by Cooperative Agreement 1‐U59‐MC06980‐01 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Available at www.childhealthdata.org. Revised 5/10/2013.

Grotberg, E. (1995). A guide to promoting resilience in children: strengthening the human spirit.  Early Childhood Development: Practice and Reflections Number 8.

Jimenez, M., Wade Jr., R., Lin, Y., Morrow, L., & Reichman, N. (2016). Adverse Experiences in Early Childhood and Kindergarten Outcomes. Pediatrics, 137(2).  Retrieved from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/137/2/e20151839.long.

National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH). (2011/12). Data query from the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health website. Retrieved from www.childhealthdata.org.

Pizzolongo, P., & Hunter, A. (2011). I Am Safe and Secure: Promoting Resilience in Young Children.  Young Children, March 2011. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/files/yc/file/201103/PromotingResilience_Pizzolongo0311.pdf.

Rutter, M. (2000). Resilience reconsidered: Conceptual considerations, empirical findings, and policy implications. Handbook of early childhood intervention, 2nd ed., 651-682.

Stevens, J. (2013a). Nearly 35 million U.S. children have experienced one or more types of childhood trauma. Retrieved from https://acestoohigh.com/2013/05/13/nearly-35-million-u-s-children-have-experienced-one-or-more-types-of-childhood-trauma/.

Stevens, J. (2013b). The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study – the largest, most important study you never hear of – began in an obesity clinic.  Retrieved from https://acestoohigh.com/2012/10/03/the-adverse-childhood-experiences-study-the-largest-most-important-public-health-study-you-never-heard-of-began-in-an-obesity-clinic/.



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