Inside: Want to encourage perseverance for kids? It turns out raising your children to have grit isn’t all that complicated. Three simple habits will help you teach your family resilience and perseverance. Try it and see!
Up. Push. Push. Too far to the left. Down he went!
Back up. Push. Push. Good push! Oh, down again.
I watched my son roll down the sidewalk ahead of me. We were practicing with his new scooter. Blue. His favorite color.
His head bent down in concentration, focused on all the pushing and balancing and not-fall-offing.
As I pushed baby sister in the stroller, he forged on ahead.
Down he went again. This time with a little scrape on his hands from the rough pavement.
I bit my tongue.
What I wanted to say was, “Oh, baby! Are you OK? Maybe we should go back to the house and do this another day.”
I wanted to mother him, to wrap him up and protect him from failing.
But instead I said, “You’ve got this, babe. Remember, what do we say?”
As he popped back up from the pavement he replied, “Try, try again…”
You see, he wasn’t always that resilient. And goodness knows we’ve still got progress to make.
Yet one of our family values is this: Do hard things.
And you know what? We’re doing them.
Teaching perseverance for kids isn’t complicated. Heads up, I don’t have a magic pill or some never-seen-before tip that will help you raise resilient kids.
But there are a few proven and powerful strategies that will help you raise your children to be resilient and have grit. I’ve seen these at work in my own family!
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Three Proven Strategies for Encouraging Perseverance for Kids
Strategy #1: Model Perseverance
Have you ever heard the phrase “Caught, not taught?” It stems from this idea that our children learn so much more from our actions than our words.
This phrase holds true as we teach perseverance to our kids as well!
If you want to raise kids with grit, you’ve got to show a little grit yourself.
I have a feeling you’ve got a little grit already. After all, you’re reading this. You’re doing the hard work of being a great mom. You’re already halfway there!
But what are some practical ways that you can openly model perseverance for your children?
Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Start that hobby you’ve always dreamed of mastering. Talk to your children about how it’s difficult at the beginning. Walk them through what you’re learning.
- Be open about something you failed at recently. Talk about your plans to try again.
- Explain a time when you had to endure a hardship. Talk about how you kept a positive attitude and persevered in hope.
- Ask the Lord to help you speak Truth over yourself. Instead of saying “I can’t do that!” practice saying “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” Your children will pick up on how you speak over yourself!
- Embrace the power of one little word. “Yet.”
- Remember that at its core, perseverance is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. “Patience, faithfulness, self-control.” That sounds a lot like perseverance right? Trust the Holy Spirit for strength to keep pressing on!
Related Reading: Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Moms with Three Simple Habits
Strategy #2: Inspire Perseverance
My mom has four daughters, of which I’m the youngest. When we were little, we had a tradition of piling around my mom on the couch while she read to us in the evening. Two on either side, two perched on the top of the couch.
We usually read fiction books together. Little House on the Prairie, the Chronicles of Narnia, and other beautiful read aloud books.
But then one evening my mom popped open Endurance. It’s the story of Ernest Shackleton and his men as they brave the expedition through Antartica.
It was gritty. It was real. And yet something about that book sticks with me even to this day.
There is power in perseverance.
One of the best ways to get our children exited about something is to inspire them with stories. Whether they’re real or fiction, great stories introduce those lofty ideas.
A story about perseverance takes perseverance from simply a word in the dictionary, to a walking, talking way of life.
Read these recommended stories and books. Or learn the story of a friend or relative who has demonstrated grit in real life.
Make “persevere” part of your regular vocabulary. You’ll be surprised how the concept sinks in when your child has a story to connect to!
Bible Stories about Perseverance
Read these stories to your kids to show them real-life examples of people who had grit!
- Noah and the Ark | Genesis 5-9
- Joseph | Genesis 37-50
- Hannah | 1 Samuel 1-2
- Paul | Acts and the Epistles
Children’s Books about Perseverance
Or fill your child’s bookshelves with inspiring fictional books about perseverance and courage. These are a few of our favorites!
- The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
- Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty
- The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires
- After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat
- The Children’s Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett | My kids love this book. The illustrations are gorgeous. And we’ve even memorized Try, Try Again, a short poem found in this book. It’s such a helpful support tool for teaching children resilience and other character traits.
- The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
- Give Up, Gecko! by Margaret Read MacDonald
- Ricky, the Rock that Couldn’t Roll by Jay Miletsky
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Strategy #3: Practice Perseverance
Now your child knows what perseverance looks like. You’ve modeled that for them in real life.
You’ve also inspired them with both real and fictional stories about perseverance and resilience.
All that’s left is to put perseverance into practice!
As mothers we tend to shield our children from difficult experiences. With this strategy, you’re going to learn how to recognize a grit-building experience in your child’s everyday life.
Here are a few ideas to get you thinking. What opportunities to practice perseverance arise in your child’s life?
Resilience Activities for Kids
- Learn how to ride a bike.
- Learn how to tie shoelaces.
- Finish a project with the same passion you started it.
- Build a complex model with Lego bricks.
- Master a game or learn chess.
- Practice drawing or painting.
- Plant a garden.
- Learn how to read.
- Do the right thing over and over. Even when friends don’t.
- Keep a good attitude on a long car trip.
- Wait patiently for something you wish you had right now.
- Join a team or practice a sport.
- Learn how to bake from scratch.
Related Reading: 40+ Ideas for One on One Time With Kids
Up. Push. Push.
I smiled to myself. Don’t you love it when a good plan comes together? After months of being intentional about creating a culture of perseverance, it was finally starting to pay off.
He rode that scooter all the way around the block and back.
Up. Push. Push. Down. Up again!
As we rolled back into our driveway, I squeezed my little guy close. “I’m so proud of you! You really stuck to it out there. You kept trying again, and you did a hard thing!”
Why do you want encourage perseverance for kids? Why is it important to you? How are you modeling, inspiring, and practicing resilience in your home?
Have a story of how your child showed perseverance? Share with us in the comments below!