10 Ways to Develop Perseverance in Children
Colorado Center for Assessment and Counseling offers psychological evaluations and counseling for children around perseverance in Fort Collins and Northern Colorado
How did your child do with all the end of the year projects, tests, and reports? Did your child have an anxiety-filled month? Did your child give up and shut down? Did they hold on to thoughts of making sure every little thing they did was perfect?
One of the biggest day-to-day issues children face is persevering through the hard work. When they find themselves frustrated, challenged, and overwhelmed, kids tend either shut down, or experience high levels of anxiety. To help curb these feelings and behaviors, it can be beneficial to help your child develop skills in perseverance. Here are ten ways to encourage perseverance in your child:
1. Appreciate Them for Who They Are
As Mr. Rogers said, “You’ve made this day a special day, by just your being you. There’s no person in the whole world like you; and I like you just the way you are.” For children, so much of their life gets simplified and crammed into categories like, “I have ADHD.” or “I’m bad at math.” When you are able to give attention to and celebrate all the other areas of who they are, the challenging areas won’t seem so big in their minds.
2. Focus On Their Strengths
If your child is a natural athlete or gifted in music or art, find activities he can excel in. It’s important that he understands there are so many things that are easy and enjoyable, and that there’s more to his life than where he is challenged.
3. Start Small
When you start with small simple task, they get to enjoy their growing success with every step forward. The goal is to persevere through a task or project, not for your child to have mastery in an area that has been a consistent challenge. If the area of concern is reading, make the goal something small like: Read 5 pages of an appropriate book and tell me about what you just read.
4. Quick, Sincere Praise
The effort is the focus, so even if the grade is not “ideal” the fact that he finished a paper on time is worthy of your attention and praise. 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.
5. Choose Reasonable Expectations
If you start small, you need to keep your expectations small. There is long path of education, maturing, self-discovery, failure and success ahead of them. This means there is no real rush to accomplish much. If your child needs to improve his handwriting, set the expectation to improve handwriting. If your child stays focused, and pushes through, your child will see change.
6. Find The Lesson
Train yourself and your child to see the challenge as something to learn from. Not everything is pass/fail. Most challenges are challenges children will live through even if they have to live through a failure or two. Living through the challenge and the failure is perseverance at its essence.
7. Show Them How to Plan Ahead
Instead of the rush jobs and frantic meltdowns give your kids the tools they need to not only accomplish a task, but how to organize the task from start to finish. From simple to-do lists, to outlining school projects months out, giving your children the right tools at the right time can make all the difference between shutting down when the work gets tough and moving through the hard work step-by-step.
8. Show Growth
Picture yourself hiking up a steep mountain, and as you do, your eyes are solely focused on your feet in front of you. Then, as you are pushing yourself up the mountain, you look up from your feet, turn around, and see just how far you have come. And as you see just how high up the mountain you are, you find another reservoir of strength that keeps you moving.
That feeling is the same feeling you can offer your child when you can show them just how much they have improved. You can do this by keeping a work sample from the first week of the school year and showing them the changes after some time has passed, or by tracking the amount of time it takes to complete tasks. Whenever your child can see that their hard work is paying off, that gives them the extra boost to keep going and persevere.
9. Cause and Effect
Sometimes our children need to know that certain actions will have certain consequences. If your child puts off his end-of-the-year essay until the week before it is due, he will experience high stress, a greater potential for poor grade, and that pain of having to do the work rushed and with anxiety. But if they go through that experience, they’ll remember how it felt the next time an essay is due and change, hopefully.
10. Have Them Help Others
It makes such a difference when children see that they can help people in need. Volunteer at a shelter, collect goods for a food bank, or visit an assisted living facility. The goal is to show them that what they do can positively affect others and is really important. They don’t need to feel like the weight of the world in on their shoulders, but it is helpful to show what kind of good can come from accomplishing a task that helps others.
We’re Here to Help!
If your child continually struggles with perseverance, or staying engaged at school, or if you are concerned that your child may have ADHD or a Learning Disorder, the Colorado Center for Assessment and Counseling offers evaluations for children. We can provide clarity regarding what your child’s strengths and weaknesses are as well as a number of practical and reasonable recommendations that will help them succeed. Call or email us to schedule your appointment: (970) 889-8204, firstname.lastname@example.org