During COVID-19, the mental health needs of children and adolescents has been acute. And many parents, overwhelmed themselves, haven’t always been sure where to turn for help. Sometimes, resources from a trusted partner that point towards a new way of thinking when faced with stressful situations might be helpful — especially with the idea of building resiliency.
What does it mean to you when you hear the word “resilient”? You might think that it has to do with heroic action and big stakes in the face of adversity. But we all can cultivate resiliency in our everyday lives. And acknowledging the unique adversity children have faced in the past two years, a conversation around resiliency is more important than ever.
Resilience is the ability to adapt in the face of adversity or trauma. It’s important to remember that resilience is not innate — that is to say, it is a combination of learned skills and environmental factors.
What has made things so difficult for childhood and adolescent resilience has been the stressors in these environmental factors: quarantines, new protocols, and illness in families, as well as other disruptions experienced by families in everyday life. Children are having to face new, unprecedented challenges every day.
Since 2010, UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, have partnered on multimedia initiatives that improve the well-being of young children and families — especially those most vulnerable — by building a strong foundation for lifelong healthy habits.
To help kids and their families foster resilience, UnitedHealthcare is sponsoring three books with Sesame Workshop to help guide parents and caregivers on ways to build resilience and process big feelings together as a family.
These books include:
- The Monster Dash: A Story about Resilience & Flexibility
- Looking for Special: A Story about Resilience & Confidence
- Bounce Back: A Story about Resilience & Persistence
Each book includes an engaging story with the beloved Sesame Street cast, an introduction for parents and caregivers at the beginning on helpful tips for approach, and an exercise for kids to do at the end to better reflect on the lessons from the book.
“UnitedHealthcare strives to build healthier communities throughout the country along with longstanding partners like Sesame Workshop,” said Tim Spilker, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “These resources for kids and families about resilience can be an important building block for a lifetime of well-being and wellness.”
When children are learning more about resilience, it can be helpful for parents and other caregivers to learn more about resiliency themselves. While many factors contribute to resilience, three can stand out:
- Cognitive development/problem-solving skills
These can help children reinforce healthier pathways in the brain
Focusing on goals and tolerating frustration can play a big role with mental health stressors
- Relationships with caring adults
Healthy and consistent relationships with adults can help children feel comfortable and supported, and may help provide guidance.
By promoting these books to a wide audience, both UnitedHealthcare and Sesame Workshop hope that families can have the resources and space to have a conversation about resiliency for kids. Although these little moments of overcoming everyday adversity might not always feel “heroic,” they can be important for children’s overall health and wellness.
To access the books, visit sesamestreetincommunities.org.