Family, resilience, and COVID-19

We are all dealing with a lot of change and uncertainty. How we cope with these stressful challenges is, in part, up to us. By practicing to be more resilient, we take greater control of our challenges and we make our families more resilient, too. So, let’s put on our mental armor.

1. Background and Overview

Brief presentation overview for adults of why we need to be resilient and how we can become resilient families.

  • Family, resilience, and the challenges of COVID-19 (Part 1 of 2) Presentation overview of protective factors. Video »
  • Family, resilience, and the challenges of COVID-19 (Part 2 of 2) Presentation of how and why for learning positive coping skills and developing a social support system. Video »

2. Learning to be Resilient

Family friendly exercises for learning and practicing resilience to help cope with the stresses associated with COVID-19. We might define stress as the body’s response to demands or pressures. There are protective factors to stress. Resilience is, in part, the development of positive-coping skills needed to manage stress in an optimal way. We call these positive-coping skills because our intent is to take a personal challenge and create a more positive and less stressful outcome. We use an entirely educational approach to learning to become resilient, that of “problem-based learning” over three exercises for each of five positive-coping skills. While positive-coping skills are important to becoming more resilient, we are also working towards understanding the importance of teamwork through a social support system. So, like many sports, as we learn the game, we are also learning how to function as a team.

  • Workbook: Educators Multiuse Handbook for Resilience. The workbook covers all five skills and provides exercises for learning the skills. The material is consistent with recommendations of the World Health Organization (Suicide, 2014) for suicide prevention. The resilience instructional materials evolved from a university program and are written for a teen to adult audience. Those of you with preteens will want to first explore the resilience skill exercises and then adapt them for your children. For example, exercises that include writing skills beyond that of your child can be explored orally. Do allow them time to describe their challenges and encourage them to work with you to apply positive coping skills to better deal with their challenges. Like adults, children also need to recognize that their social support system can really help them with their challenges. Educators Multiuse Handbook for Resilience PDF »

3. A STEM Approach to Resilience

The preceding 'Learning to be Resilient' should be explored before this STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) exercise examining the Internet of Things (IoT). Technology has quickly and dramatically changed the way we work, socialize, and communicate. Can we also look to technology to enable us to better adapt to these rapid changes especially now that we are practicing social distancing to keep ourselves healthy? Because of its educational focus, these exercises use the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer. If you do not have a Raspberry Pi computer available, you can still complete all of the exercises using either a Macintosh or Windows computer -- see how to install Node-RED below. These exercises have been tested down to middle school levels.

  • Workbook: Educators Multiuse Handbook for Resilience. The second section of the workbook includes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) exercises that explore resilience while learning about the Internet of Things (IoT) using visual programming (Node-RED). Educators Multiuse Handbook for Resilience PDF »
  • STEM, Resilience, and Raspberry Pi Setup, Part 1 of 3. Discover the positive coping resilience skills we use while doing a Raspberry Pi setup. And, discover how a technology system gives us insight on how to develop a social support system to deal with our challenges. Part one of three STEM exercises that explore resilience and social support from the perspective of the Raspberry Pi, Node-RED, and The Internet of Things (IoT). Video »
  • STEM, Resilience, MQTT, and Node-RED, Part 2 of 3. Video »
  • STEM, Resilience, Node-RED, and Internet of Things, Part 3 of 3. Video »
  • Don't have a Raspberry Pi? Installing Node-RED on Mac OS. Brief, simple Node-RED install for Mac OS. This is intended to supplement the Resilience and STEM series for those not using a Raspberry Pi, but instead using a Mac OS system. Video »
  • Don't have a Raspberry Pi? Installing Node-RED on Windows. Brief, simple Node-RED install for Windows 10. This is intended to supplement the Resilience and STEM series for those not using a Raspberry Pi, but instead using Windows operating system. Video »

Resilience 'App'

A simple a web-based application that parallels the content of the five skill resilience quick reference, and further allows you to create your own resilience skills. The simple app permits exploration of a personal challenge using any of the skills. All data is stored locally on your computer or device.

  • Run it! More »
  • Download Resilience Application. Download the entire app and run it on your own device. Download, unzip, start your browser and Open the index.html file in the FiveSkillApp folder to run this on your browser. Additionally, the materials have been constructed as simple HTML and Javascript pages to permit easy editing and modification should you wish to alter this app for your instruction. Resilience App zip »

Gamification Resources

Need more ideas on how to adapt some of this learning to your family? Gamified learning is an educational process of building in game elements to make learning more motivating and interesting. This may provide some ideas on building resilience while aiding at-home education. More »

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

NCTSN.org is a resource for the public, professionals, and others who care about children and are concerned about child traumatic stress. Link »

American Psychological Association (APA)

Brief resilience guide, for parents and teachers, with focus on children. Link »


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