How do children develop resilience? A short guide


Resilience develops and changes over time as children and young people grow and progress through developmental stages. People may have more, or less, resilience to draw on at any given time depending on their circumstances. Children can develop resilience due to biological influences, exposure to manageable stress, positive connections and relationships and through their relationship with significant adults.

Biological influences; To some extent, resilience has a genetic component (that is, it lies within a person’s individual make-up and personal strengths). However, it’s not simply an individual characteristic nor is it a fixed character trait.

Exposure to manageable stress; Children and young people develop coping skills through exposure to manageable stress in their day-to-day lives (for example, the everyday stress of getting ready for their early learning service or school). When educators respond in a warm and sensitive manner, children and young people learn they are safe, that their needs will be taken care of and they’ll be supported with their coping skills.

Positive connections and relationships; Strong relationships within immediate and extended family help at times of stress or adversity. This support and security is a critical buffer against life’s ups and downs – it’s often called a protective factor for mental health. Even very young children develop a sense of self and self-confidence through their peer relationships and attribute meaning and value to them. Relationships outside of the family mean children and young people have someone else to support them when times get tough.

Significant adults; Research indicates a positive relationship with at least one caring, competent adult outside of the child or young person’s immediate family is related to greater mental health and resilience. Positive relationships are particularly important for individuals who’ve not experienced close relationships with their family and can improve developmental outcomes.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:



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