How to support, but not force, your child’s persistence

Between the ages of 5 and 8, it's important to encourage exploration

How to support, but not force, your child’s persistence

When your child is 5 to 8 years old, they are constantly exploring and experimenting with their likes and dislikes. Quitting is a normal part of this process. As parents, support your child through this learning experience and encourage him or her to persist when appropriate.

Understanding persistence

Persistence refers to your child’s likelihood to pursue an activity, even in the face of challenges or difficulties. Each child’s level of persistence is unique and a part of their personality. It is important to remember that your child’s persistence cannot be changed or fixed. However, you can accommodate in order to meet your child’s needs. If you want to learn more about your child’s persistence, seek out Sanford Children’s Community Programs to complete a temperament profile for him or her.

Supporting your child’s persistence

Follow and practice these strategies to encourage your child’s persistence:

  • Be supportive of your child’s effort. “Success” doesn’t always depend on outcomes or a finished product. Success may be a willingness to try and put forth the best effort. Acknowledge your child’s effort and hard work no matter the amount of time put into it.
  • Allow brain breaks. If your child is struggling, allow him or her to take a break and try again later. They may just need a breather or an opportunity to talk to you about their concerns or feelings.
  • Involve your child in the decision making. Allow your child to have a say in making decisions about trying new activities.
  • Encourage goals, both big and small. Make sure the goals aren’t too easy or too hard. When your child completes a goal (even a small one), make sure to acknowledge it. Also, if a goal is too difficult or impossible to achieve, it may be setting them up for feelings of failure.
  • Don’t be forceful. Make trying new things fun, accessible and safe. If your child tries something new, even if they quit, acknowledge that he or she tried.

 When is it OK to let my child quit?

First, think about how you define quitting. If we view quitting as being lazy or unmotivated, it may actually encourage your child to quit more often. If we think of quitting as standing up for themselves, being determined and focused, it will encourage them to persist and keep trying.

Quitting is a part of learning and healthy child development. It allows your child to try new, exciting and frightening things they may not normally try. If he or she does want to quit an activity, try to determine the underlying cause and the feelings behind it. Overall, as a parent, the best thing you can do is be understanding and supportive.

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Posted In Children's, Parenting