As parents, we can recall numerous instances where we have intervened to set things right when our children felt frustrated at not being able to accomplish what they set out to. And, when reminded that it’s not the best way to help children, we always came up with the excuse, “They’ll do it themselves the next time.”
While our love for our children does prompt us to step in during a crisis to help them, we can do much better than that. We can teach our children to persevere and that perseverance always pays. Let’s look at some of the ways we can instil in our children the desire and the determination to persevere.
- Explain ‘perseverance’: Begin by explaining to your child what perseverance is. Tell her that it is all about developing the mindset to learn, work hard, exercise self-control, and devise a plan of action to beat the odds. You can use your child’s favourite sport to explain this. If your child loves football and would like to play it well, tell her what she would need to do. For example, she would first need to learn how to play the sport, then she would need to practise playing religiously and rigorously, shun disappointment when outsmarted by her opponent, and come up with a plan to win the game.
- Motivate him to practise: Pressurising to give a flawless performance right from the beginning or instilling the fear of failure can be stressful and demotivating to your child. Instead, encourage your child by telling him that no one is perfect, but that he can become the best through constant practice.
- Teach ‘never-give-up’ words: Help your child learn the positive language of motivating herself to persevere. Teach her phrases like, “I can do it,”, “I won’t quit,”, “I will try again.” Positive self-talk goes a long way in instilling a never-say-die attitude and the determination to carry on.
- Reminders to self: When your child sets goals and is out to achieve them, things may not always go according to the plan. And, sometimes, failures can prove demoralising and make your child give up. To prevent this from happening and instil the urge to carry on, teach your child to remind himself of the objectives by asking himself questions like, “Why am I doing this?”, “What will happen when I succeed?” The answers to these questions will motivate him to persevere.
- Connect success to hard work: While interacting with your child, look for opportunities to make her understand how success comes only with hard work. For example, if your child tells you that she has accomplished something, you can use praise to connect her achievement to hard work. For example, “I am so proud of what you have done. The time you spent in practice really paid off well.”
- Engage in fun ‘perseverance’ games: Some everyday games that children play are excellent tools to teach perseverance to children. For example, repeatedly throwing a ball at your child and asking him to hit it with a cricket bat or tennis racquet; hula hooping for a certain duration and going on increasing the duration; throwing a ball in the air and clapping once before catching it, doing the same again but clapping twice – progressively trying to increase the number of claps.
- Inspire your child: The history of the world is full of examples of personalities who have braved the odds and emerged winners. Tell your child about some of them like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and Martin Luther King. Also, get your child books to read that have stories of characters who keep going even when the going gets tough.
Although teaching your child perseverance may seem like a tough task, you can model perseverance for your child by trying to teach him that perseverance pays.
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