Do you know how to bounce back quickly?

We all experience setbacks but some of us recover more quickly than others. Learn resilience skills to help your children cope better with disappointment and failure.

Denise talks to Dr Toni Noble about strategies to build resilience in schools and beyond.



Dr Toni Noble is an educator and educational psychologist. She is a pioneer of student wellbeing and resilience in Australia. Toni, along with her co-author Dr Helen McGrath, created Bounce Back – an award-winning program that teaches wellbeing, resilience and social-emotional skills to primary school children.


The lowdown

Resilience describes our ability to cope with and bounce back from negative events, challenges, or situations to return to a sense of wellbeing. In other words, resilience is the capacity to respond adaptively to difficult circumstances and still thrive. Young people need to be socially and academically resilient. Fortunately, the skills to develop resilience can be taught.

The key message from Bounce Back is that everybody experiences setbacks makes mistakes and experiences adversities – not just you. This is crucial to building resilience as it normalises challenges as a part of life.


Bounce Back provides the acronym for 10 statements that develop good thinking habits and resilience:

  • Bad times don’t last, things will always get better- stay optimistic
  • Other people can help, if you ask them.
  • Unhelpful thinking makes you feel more upset – think again.
  • Nobody’s perfect, not you and not others.
  • Concentrate on the positives in a bad situation no matter how small
  • Everybody experiences sadness, hurt, failure, rejection and setbacks sometimes, not just you.
  • Blame fairly.
  • Accept what you can’t change.
  • Catastrophizing exaggerates your worries.
  • Keep things in perspective.

For younger students there is an adapted, simpler version.

Taking a whole-school approach to develop resilience is hugely beneficial. To do this schools must make wellbeing and resilience a priority, reflecting this explicitly in policy and practice. Supporting teachers in implementing resilience initiatives is essential through allocating time and through valuing staff wellbeing and resilience.

One of the most important things that parents can do to build resilience in their child is to give them age-appropriate independence, to not overprotect their child and not do things for them that they can do for themselves.


Additional resources

Check out the Bounce Back programme website to find out more about the programme as well as Toni’s research, projects and books:

Grab a copy of Dr Ken Ginsburg’s book to read more about building resilience in young people: