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With risk comes resilience: How to create confident and resilient kids

November 2017

Associate Professor Linda Newman, study author from the University of Newcastle, has observed that introducing risk into children’s activities, such as high climbing, can be vital in shaping a child’s perception of the world and how they approach risk, which ultimately builds resilience in adulthood.

In addition to increasing resiliency and self-confidence, numerous studies have shown that engaging in activities with an appropriate level of risk helps children to become more active, develops their social skills, and improves their ability to judge risks. Office of Sport Program Coordinator, Andrea van Eyssen, echoes these sentiments from both personal and professional experience: “I attended a workshop recently where we were asked what we as facilitators did to teach kids to become more resilient. I had to really think about this – what exactly was resilience and how was I contributing? I was excited when we were presented with a formula – which I have since applied not only at work, but also in encouraging risk-taking in my 5-year old son!”.

When developing activities and programs at Sport and Recreation Centres in NSW, Andrea integrates the following principles:

  • Instil competence. By allowing children to learn through exploring, different experiences or learning a new skill, they become increasingly competent.
  • Develop confidence. Being competent develops their confidence – kids will more readily try new things or step outside their comfort zone if they feel confident.
  • Confidence in turn directly contributes to them being resilient.

“Yes – encouraging children to go outside of their comfort zone and try new things improves their ability to analyse risk and helps build resilience!” agrees Andrea.

You can read the original article from IPWEA (Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia).

If you would like to learn more about Office of Sport programs, contact one of our friendly Program Coordinators on 13 13 02 or visit