Welcome to the Resiliency Project

  • The Belmont Elementary Site Council began a project a couple of years ago to bring family education to our learning community in an accessible and valuable manner. We simply wanted to make BEautiful Connections between ourselves, our families, and the amazing community resources who are dedicated to building the healthiest and strongest community possible around our growing children. Let's face it...this parenting thing is no walk in the park!

    We had great success with our Family Education Night last January, during which participants had the opportunity to choose three of ten great topics spanning the physical, mental and social/emotional realms of health and wellness. The feedback was so positive that plans were begun for an expanded in-person format this year. Well, that couldn't happen.

    Refusing to give up completely, we put our heads together (not literally, of course, but through Zoom) and decided to launch a web-based option that, as we build it, will be available to all at any time. Yay! That just left determining a focus, because we knew that taking on every topic we'd brainstormed at once would be futile. We wanted to address and provide encouragement toward something that was relevant BEFORE the pandemic, relevant DURING the pandemic, and will still be relevant AFTER the pandemic. We landed on RESILIENCE.

    It is our sincere belief, through all of our conversations about work and home and family and anxiety and stress and living and learning and succeeding that the ability to be resilient, and furthermore, to raise resilient children, is a present need in all of our lives.

    One other caveat to consider regarding resilience. If you are blessed with natural resilience and so are your children, please still consider that not all of those around you are in the same place. And often, when an adult is not resilient, then there are children close by who are struggling to piece together these skills, as well. Maybe some of them are your close friends or family- could you possibly help another? But also, realize that just because a child struggles with resiliency, doesn't mean that their parents haven't tried to teach them resilience effectively. There are many factors that are in play with social/emotional wellness...the most consistent one is that no two humans are alike. Empathy begs for your patience and understanding, while you strengthen and grow, as well.

    We sincerely hope that this alternate path to family education will be just what you need, just when you need it. If this last year has taught us anything at all, it's that each new day can bring surprises, either blessing or challenge, and resilience is a powerful skill to own.

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  • It's incredible really. How just this one little thing that we all have to do anyway can change the entire trajectory of our day. Yep. Just breathe. You might be a skeptic. I was a just breathe skeptic once upon a time, too. I just didn't get it! I thought that people were crazy. I literally breathe all day long and I could stay all stressed out through every single hour without even trying hard. And then...I finally started really listening. It turns out that HOW you breathe matters when you're using breathing as a calm-down strategy. Good news is that it's easy when you know the rules:

    • You gotta belly breathe. That means breathing in through your nose from way deep from down in your belly, not up in your chest. You keep your shoulders down and let your belly pouf out as your diaphragm fills and pushes down. 
    • When you breathe out, do it through your mouth and try to push air out for just a bit longer than you pulled it in. 
    • Repeat at least three times, or until you can feel your body relax.

    Still sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? Well, of course it is! Which is exactly why I never understood how it could work. Or how teaching correct breathing to children could help them to calm their emotions so that they could access their brains for better problem solving. i'd read a LOT of self-meditation articles, but I have SOOOO much trouble settling my brain. When I finally learned how to breathe correctly for self-regulation, I learned how to truly access the ability to calm my body, which helps me to calm my brain. I learned that I could breathe to calm anxiety. I lelarned that I could breathe to relax for quality rest. Even better, I learned that when I was rocking my grandbabies to sleep, as soon as I started taking deep calming belly breathes, they almost immediately calmed and began to slow their fussing as well. Bonus! 

    Our brains work better when our emotions are regulated. Children's brains are the same, with the additional challenge of navigating frustrations without yet having a fully developed frontal cortex. Ugh! Sometimes my heart actually hurts for them! Resilient kids have strategies, though! Yay! The easiest of all is learning to correctly breathe themselves back into the green zone...or at least into the yellow zone so that they can successfully pick a secondary strategy. I've seen deep breaths work with kids and adults of all ages. 

    At your house, try adding breathing to your family repertoire for self-regulation. I bet you can find multiple opportunities to change the trajectory of your day!

    To further encourage the self-regulation strategies of mindfulness and breathing, necessary for resiliency, you may want to explore some of these books:

    •  Emotional Agility by Susan David
    •  Thrive by Arianna Huffington
    •  Into the Magic Shop by James Doty

    To share with your child:

    • Compassionate Ninja by Mary Nhin 



  • cReAtE: One of my favorite ways to reset, rejuvenate, and stretch the flexibility of my mind in order to 'see' things in a new light when needed, is to CREATE something. Taking something that wasn't anything and making it into SOMETHING is magical. Sometimes silly. Sometimes beautiful. Do you have an art center at your house? Just the basics- nothing fancy. Paper, paint, markers, crayons, playdoh, scissors, glue, scraps of fabric, recycled junk, boxes....you name it. Taking the time to write, draw, stick stuff together until it looks like something fun, or maybe creating a new recipe or designing a new way to organize all of the toys lying around. These are rejuvenating activities that not only serve as stress relievers, which supports resiliency, but also spark a sense of accomplishment and a feeling of competence. Resilient people are calm and flexible. Here are a few books to get you thinking about creativity in a variety of ways. We've used the last three in Character Packs over the years. It's really incredible to see how our children's minds work. Although technology certainly has a place, and there are many design and engineering platforms with real value, I would encourage hands-on creation over a video game any day.

    • (Book) How Full Is Your Bucket? For Kids by Tom Rath

    • (Book) The Dot by Peter Reynolds

    • (Book) What to Do with an Idea by Kobi Yamada

    • (Book) Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg


  • SLEEP! It may be the most important thing we can do for our brains. Sleep is how we regenerate for the next day. Sleep heals. And even the youngest in our families need it to feel centered, and ready...for life! Well rested brains handle emotions, make decisions and think through chores and challenges more successfully than groggy brains. As adults, I know that you know what I'm talking about, but what most of us don't realize, is how MUCH sleep affects our lives.

    Check out the resources below to help your family build healthy nighttime sleeping schedules to support resiliency throughout the day!

    • The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington


  • nOsH: We all know that our bodies need fuel, and that if we don't choose the best fuel, our bodies just don't run correctly. We spit. We sputter. We rumble. Our mufflers might even explode. The science of nutrition is a never ending puzzle of what works well together- my daughter, the best dietitian I know, has taught me a LOT about how to raise children who develop a healthy relationship with FOOD. Real food. All foods. It is so easy to see how my parents' life habits influenced my life habits which influenced our children's life habits....and on and on it goes until we LEARN better. So thankful that we have! Now, overcoming all of the emotional luggage that is in my relationship with food is a battle that still wages. But that's okay. It's a journey. I'm so excited to begin to share just a few fun resources to start your family's food relationship reflection.



  • Our last ReSiLiEnCy highlight areas are mOvE & pLaY. Maybe that's even just one area. To play is to move and to move is most fun when it's play! Anyone who uses exercise to self-regulate already knows and understands the value of movement and the effect it has on our body. Stress is so very prevalent right now, and can attack our bodies in ways we cannot even explain. Having odd dreams? Feeling a little snarky? Losing your train of thought? Gaining weight? Having difficulty finishing a task? Feeling pain you can't explain? All of these can be signs of stress. Exercise and movement (really, I'm just talking about something as simple as taking a walk, or taking the stairs) positively affect our dopamine and serotonin levels, providing a burst of stress-reducing stimuli that allow our brains and bodies to function in a more self-regulated state. All of this supports our ability to show resiliency in the face of challenge. Check out the ideas below (also posted on the ReSiLiEnCy PrOjEcT tab on our website) for a few ideas to get you started this summer.

    mOvE & pLaY:

    Bonus...because it is really important to understand emotional agility and it's relationship to resiliency in the realm of mental health. A good watch!