Teaching our children the art of being persistent

There are many thing I wish for my child to learn, playing sport, ride a bike, be good to your friends, how to be a team player and have wonderful manners. However one of the most important one is the art of being persistent. Never giving up as we say, try, try, try again.

When observing children in different activities from sports, outdoor adventures and everyday activities. A majority seem to give up so easily, there seems to be no room for failure to learn from our mistakes. Are they too scared to fail I ask?  Then the question is do we push them to keep going or let them develop in their own time and potentially give up.

I don’t mean push them to being top of the class for everything I’m looking at everyday activities like tying your laces, climbing the tree, catching a ball, riding a bike or even just lacing the beads through the thread. Instead of learning through trial and error we seem to teach or even have the belief it should be completed straight away first time, if not give up find something else to do.

The huffington post published an article called the ‘3 simple steps to teaching your child the art of persistence’ by Medhi Toozy. In this article it breaks down the 3 most important things to do when teaching persistence to a child.

1. Keep a positive mind.

Negative thoughts drain your energy and keep you from becoming successful. The more you give in to your negative thoughts, the stronger they become and it is harder to snap out of it. On the other hand, positive thoughts are fuel for your mind. When we are feeling hopeless, that means that our mind is out of fuel.

2. Keep trying.

You have to teach your children there will be a lot of failures in their life, but that is not a reason to give up. It is how one deals with those failures that will determine the outcome of their journey to success.  Failure is one of the biggest ways we learn and develop. It forces us to develop persistence. 

3. Keep a role model. 

Many famous and successful people had to fail repeatedly to achieve success in life. For example, Thomas Edison failed many times in his life. He made 10,000 attempts before gaining success in the functional light bulb that we still enjoy to this day. What can we learn from his experience? Never give up! 

A child natural instinct is to try, it is the child’s persistence in learning which allows them to crawl, walk and talk.  However as they get older and realise there are short cuts they start to use them. Is this what we want from our children?

Technology has sped up our life, the way we communicate and expectation of delivery. For example, internet shopping, we expect next day to seven days delivery. We no longer order from a site delivering over 14 days. Is this shift in attitude changing how we are teaching a child persistence in succeeding within our ‘now’ culture?

Then they are looking at their life, wondering why they still have to learn repetitively with pen and paper, not just technology. As we all know learning to write is a skill and can be difficult if we haven’t developed our fine motor skills in the past. Developing this skills requires children to do activities repetitively, try, try again!

Another great article from ‘ Teaching young kids persistence’ by Leslie Crawford’

 So teach them different ways to talk about problem-solving: “I won’t quit,” “I can do it,” and “It’s always hardest the first time, but it will get easier.” Borba also suggests coming up with a household “stick with it” mantra, explaining that families that maintain an overall attitude of “We can do it” tend to face obstacles and mistakes with grace and ingenuity. Some favorites: “Mistakes don’t get us down” and “The family that doesn’t quit!” Finally, tell stories either from your own life or read to your child about succeeding despite the obstacles. The all-time “I can do it” early-reader classic? The Little Engine That Could.’

In this article it gives tips, ideas on how to teach your children to be persistence, which will help to build the resilience needed in life to be successful.

When observing your child, think are you teaching your child to be persistence by doing it for them or letting them give up first try. Build resilience to be able to get on with the challenges life will bring to them. As we all know life is about trial and error over time we all learn this with a few unsuccessful attempts on the way.

For an article on building resilience see ‘Lets build resilient children in the early years’

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