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
Rather than intelligence or teaching, Einstein attributed much of his success to persistence and persevering through challenges. A word for this is grit, which is defined as, “a perseverance and passion for long-term goals” by the Duckworth Lab at the University of Pennsylvania. While we can all agree there is a strong relationship between intelligence and success, what Einstein is referring to and what research has shown is that grit is actually a bigger predictor of success when compared to intelligence. How can we develop perseverance in our children?
We can foster perseverance and create motivation in our children by developing the right learning attitude and praising children when they achieve our expectations at home or in the classroom.
But we can do more to cultivate grit. Encouragement should be given regardless of a child’s result, and should focus on the effort and the 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 to have goals and to persevere, students will have the tools they need to be successful in life. Together, parents and educators provide the ideal foundation for young people to achieve their goals and their dreams, one step at a time.