Fostering Perseverance and Motivation in Your Child
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
Intelligence equals success. That’s what most people would say, but Albert Einstein attributed much of his success to persistence and persevering through challenges, rather than to his intelligence. A word for this is grit. Merriam-Webster defines grit as an “unyielding courage in the face of hardship.”
While we can all agree there is a strong relationship between intelligence and success, Einstein saw grit as a bigger predictor, which leads us to a question we often receive from parents. How can we develop perseverance in our children?
A simple “Great Job!” goes a long way in fostering motivation.
Parents can foster perseverance and inspire motivation in children by cultivating the right learning attitude and praising them when they meet expectations, whether at home or in the classroom.
Encouragement should be given regardless of a child’s result.
It’s important to focus on your child’s effort and their progress. “Look at how well you are doing with addition! A few months ago, adding up to +9 wasn’t easy, but now you can add double digits in your head! I’m so impressed with how far you have come. I can’t wait to watch you do it with subtraction!”
Encouragement entails using descriptive words.
“I know subtracting fractions feels challenging right now, but I don’t want you to give up. I know you can do it! Do you remember a few months ago when you thought long division was too difficult? Now, it feels easy for you, right? It must feel good to know you worked so hard and now you are a pro at it! Fractions are the same thing. I’m really proud of you because I know you are going to become really good at fractions too!”
Encouragement has a bigger effect than praise on a child’s motivation and willingness to persevere. By developing a mindset for goal setting and ultimately cultivating an attitude to preserve in order to achieve those goals, students will have the tools they need to be successful in life.
Together, parents and educators provide the ideal foundation for children to achieve their goals and their dreams, one step at a time.