Nurturing Resilience: Interactions are the Heart of Resilience/Las interactions son el corazon del la resiliencia

Barbara Brody, Toiresa Frazier, Shannon Tierney Lipscomb and Megan Pratt
PNW 765 | Published February 2022, Reviewed 2023 |

Resilience is adapting positively to life’s challenges. Resilience is for everyone. We nurture resilience by caring for ourselves and each other.

What we know

Caring, responsive interactions build relationships that are the heart of nurturing resilience. We call this
“Serve and Return.” It is simple, but powerful! It helps young children build trust, self-regulation, and language and relational skills.

Serve: The child serves by saying, doing or looking at something, or by expressing an emotion.

Return: The adult returns the serve by responding in a way that is sensitive, such as joining the child, sharing supportive or encouraging words, initiating appropriate eye contact, or using gestures.

When children experience trauma or other challenges in life, Serve and Return can help them feel safe, empowered and valued. This is critical for healing and nurturing resilience.

What can we do?

Practice Serve and Return with your child during the little moments each day.

You can practice Serve and Return during meals or snacks, play time, shopping, cooking, or routines like diapering or tooth brushing.

The important thing is to tune in, notice a child’s Serve and Return it! Then go back and forth in interaction.

For more information on trauma-informed care for children, visit Roots of Resilience.

About the authors

Shannon Tierney Lipscomb
Oregon State University

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