A mother and child reading a children's book

During stressful times, when normal family life gets turned upside down, it may be helpful to learn how experts identify the multiple ways families are resilient. Family resilience is the capacity of the family to adapt to challenging situations in the face of adversity. It is not necessarily a trait of any individual in the family, such as being optimistic under stressful circumstances, but is instead the coordinated efforts of family members to draw upon resources (both material and psychological) to aid in building capacity for resilience.

These Building Blocks or Resilience briefs offer resources for families that can be used to reinforce existing coping strategies and new ideas to face challenging circumstances.

Mindful Parenting: What is it and Why is it Important?

In this brief, Dr. Ye Rang Park offers tips on how parents can practice mindful parenting and how mindful parenting can reduce stress. Dr. Park also explains how to avoid emotional triggers, provides additional online mindful parenting resources, and highlights evidence-based resources for further exploration on the topic.

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Mindful Parenting: What it is and Why is it Important? (English)

Helping Children Become Independent Healthy Eaters

Parents have become increasingly concerned about the impact of picky eating on the health and growth of their children. This brief highlights what drives these parental perceptions and offers solutions on how to mitigate picky eating behaviors, with the goal of helping children develop into independent healthy eaters.

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Helping Children Become Independent Healthy Eaters (English)

Family, Household, and Dietary Factors Important for Children's Executive Function

What executive function (EF) is and how it influences child development is the topic of this Building Blocks of Resilience brief. Parents and caregivers will find information on how to help support EF even at a young age and how EF supports healthy eating.

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Family, Household, and Dietary Factors Important for Children's Executive Function (English)

Family Activities and Resilience 

Scientists conducting research consistently find that families that spend more leisure time together tend to feel closer, report better communication, and are more satisfied with family life. Being intentional in planning time together and being willing to try different kinds of activities are just a few ways families can become closer and thrive as a unit. 

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Family Activities and Resilience (English)

Resource Sheet: Executive Function Strategies and Resources 

Executive functioning (EF) skills are the things the brain does to plan, organize, and execute a task. Rather than focusing on academics, consider structuring your child's summer to target EF skills. Executive Function Strategies and Resouces contains EF tips families can implement today to create a summer of calm. 

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Executive Function Strategies and Resources (English)

Cooking in Times of Stress

Despite its advantages, cooking regularly at home is hard, even in the best of times. The latest brief in our series, Building Blocks of Resilience: Cooking in Times of Stress, gives readers easy-to-implement research-based strategies and resources families can adopt today to help them cook more regularly at home.

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Cooking in Times of Stress (English)

Mindfulness Part 1: Benefits and Misconceptions

Many studies evidence the benefits of mindfulness for children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, pregnant women, older adults, and people experiencing mental and physical health challenges (e.g., pain, addiction, anxiety, and so on). Mindfulness occurs when one lives in the moment, without distractions or attachments (positive or negative) and with acceptance. Attending to one’s breath is one way to practice mindfulness. Part one of a two-part series, Mindfulness Part 1: Benefits and Misconceptions, describes the benefits of implementing mindfulness practices into your daily routine while clearing up common misconceptions.

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Mindfulness Part 1: Benefits and Misconceptions (English)

Mindfulness Part 2: Techniques and Practices

Part two of a two-part series, Mindfulness Part 2: Techniques and Practices, gives you highly scalable, all-ages mindfulness techniques and practices that you can implement today. Hand-breathing (see the link to the PDF guide below), body scan mediation, poses, and more can be found in this evidence-based brief.

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A Guide to the Mindfulness Practice of Hand Breathing
Mindfulness Part 2: Techniques and Practices (English)

Six Ways to Build a More Resilient Couple Relationship

The benefits of maintaining a healthy and strong couple relationship impact individuals’ physical and mental health, children in the home, and the broader community. However, as many couples have experienced, maintaining a healthy and strong couple relationship can be challenging. This brief helps couples by providing research-based tools and resources to create a more robust relationship. 

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Six Ways to Build a More Resilient Couple Relationships (English)

Responsive Feeding

Children are not born knowing how to eat adult foods; they must learn. Caregivers play an important role in helping children develop food preferences, eating habits, and behaviors that build the foundation for lifelong habits. 

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Responsive Feeding (English)

Talking to Your Kids About Racism

Children as young as three recognize and develop racial attitudes and biases. This brief provides parents with developmentally appropriate tools to help them talk to their kids about race and racism.

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Talking to Your Kids About Racism (English)

Family Traditions & Celebrations 

Within a family, traditions and celebrations help infuse meaning, cohesion, and solidarity into family life. For a family, these activities can help connect us to our past, our community, and perhaps most importantly, to each other.

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Family Traditions & Celebrations (English)
Tradiciones Familiares y Celebraciones (Spanish)

Cooking with Kids 

Being involved in meal preparation and cooking together is related to stronger family relationships and greater mental wellbeing in children and youth. Children as young as three years of age, as well as older children and adolescents, can all participate. 

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Cooking with Kids (English)
Cocinando con los Niños (Spanish) 

Physical Activity During Times of Stress  

Being physically active has an effect on your body and brain. When you are physically active, your body is more likely to increase the production of endorphins that send positive messages to your brain. Sometimes referred to as a “runner's high,” these changes in your body’s chemicals can happen at low levels of exertion as well as moderate levels of activity.

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Physical Activity During Times of Stress (English)
Actividad Física Durante Momentos de Estrés (Spanish)

Healthy Relationships During Times of Stress  

There is a wealth of scientific evidence that shows that stress has a damaging effect on close relationships. In particular, economic uncertainty, increased parenting demands, and decreases in leisure activities can create a negative relational environment. But there is good news in that there are multiple ways that couples, parents, and teens can cope that aren’t expensive or require special equipment.

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Healthy Relationships During Times of Stress (English)
Relaciones Sanas en Tiempos de Estrés (Spanish)

Family Routines 

Maintaining regular routines provides a sense of order to daily life. It lets everyone know when the day begins, what activities will occur when and where, and what role everyone is expected to play. There are at least three family routines to maintain: bedtime and sleep, mealtime, and physical activity.

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Family Routines (English)
Rutinas Familiares (Spanish)