As it has been proven through multiple studies, soft skills are more important than IQ. We help kids learn Math, Languages, Science and more. But helping them be resilient early on, is going to be the greatest lesson of all.
Perseverance is a crucial life skill to tackle challenges which we inevitably face through life. It is the drive that helps us get past difficult phases and achieve what we want.
Life is full of challenges, some predictable, some not and If our children are to adjust in this complex world, they must learn to hang in there and not quit.
The good news? Research shows parents can help kids persevere by adopting simple, proven strategies.
8 Tips to help kids Persevere
1. Play to persevere
One of the major benefits of play in early learning is helping build mental strength and perseverance. Playing is an important part of a child’s physical and mental developmental growth and is a great way for the parents to encourage skills that would help them cope. You can start with small games and tasks, focusing on their strengths, praising them sincerely, and showing them their growth. This allows them to gain confidence and encourages them to not give up.
2. Find your child's passion.
Tune in to your child and find his natural interests, passions or talents. If he loves drawing, consider art lessons; if enjoys listening to music, try piano or violin. Take it slow and steady. As children grow older, allowing them to pursue an interest they have chosen themselves will help motivate them to engage in the hard work and perseverance needed for success.
If a parent chooses the activity, there is less likelihood the child will feel as connected, and they may not want to work as hard to be successful. The trick is to gauge your child’s interest in the sport, lesson, or activity — before you start.
3. Start with the right expectations
Before you get your kid into a task, consider these factors to set the right expectations.
Check if the kid is actually interested in doing it or is it just you who want the kid to pursue the activity. Who is pushing whom? Check if your child’s routine can accommodate this task. Avoid overload as kids tend to quit when they don’t get time with their friends. Check if the task is appropriate for the child’s age and if yes then gradually push them to the next level. For a child to excel at a task, they need an excellent coach.
4. Let Your Kid Get Frustrated
Parents hate to see their kids struggle, but taking risks and struggling is an important way for children to learn. When your child is dealing with a skill, activity, or sport that is difficult to master, resist the urge to jump in and save them.
Allowing your child to give up the moment things get frustrating teaches them that struggling isn't part of working hard. And if they give up, they may never get to witness what greatness could have happened had they worked through those struggles.
If your child chooses not to sign up again, allow that. What is important is that they pushed through the discomfort, which is a natural part of the process of learning something new.
5. Teach That Failing Is Okay
Children learn from the adults around them, so if you want your children to handle setbacks with grace and calm and become a model for determination, you need to model this yourself.
Talking to your kids about your own failures will help them understand that it is okay to fail, and they will see how people can problem solve and bounce back. Show them that being flexible and knowing how to problem solve is a useful and mature quality.
6. Share Stories of Resilient Famous People
Your child can also learn from stories of people who used passion and perseverance to reach long-term goals, often with failures or setbacks along the way.
Stories like Michael Jordan not making his Varsity team, or J.K. Rowling's manuscript for Harry Potter being rejected almost a dozen times, will show your child how perseverance through failure can lead to great success.
7. Praise Effort, Not Accomplishments
Praise the process and the effort put in by the child and not just the final result. A great way of communicating praise is to celebrate your child with other people. When your child is nearby and you’re on the phone or in a conversation, mention how proud you were that they finished a task or big project. They remember how you made them feel, and that makes a lasting impact.
8. Be Conscious of interfering
While we love our kids to a fault, and try to do everything to make their life easier, we might stunt their development in the process.
According to research, kids ages 4 to 7 persevere longer when allowed to struggle through a challenging activity than, if a grown-up steps in. Watching kids struggle can be hard, the protectiveness comes to us naturally. But every time we take over, the message to the child is, ‘I don’t think you can do it, so I’m just going to do it for you.’
It can, hence, affect their confidence negatively.
Be conscious of cleaning your kid’s messy room or picking the toys after them or not letting your kid run, as they may fall down. Remember, it could lead to lower levels of resilience and perseverance.
Bonus Tip - Show, Don’t Tell
The best way for kids to learn grit is from watching their parents.
We tend to not share our struggles with our children, but they can sense it anyway. Sharing makes it easier for them to process and learn from it. Talk about the tasks which take you out of your comfort zone. Show that you sometimes struggle or fail and then bounce back. Model resilience for your children and show them that failing is nothing to be afraid of.
Helping your child persevere could be one of the most important things to achieve. When your child learns to persevere, it sets them up for a well adjusted, happier life.