Persistence in Children

In order for a child to develop persistence, they must have support, trust and opportunity. When a child’s resistance creeps in, it can be challenging to know if a child really has had enough or if a child is simply giving up. It is up to us as parents to take resistance to a new challenge and develop it into persistence.

The type of support we provide our children in times of resistance is valuable in developing persistence. As parents, we must encourage our children to try new activities and experience new things. We must be patient and teach in a manner that children can understand and find logical. It is up to us to explain the tasks and skills (elements) that makes up each activity in a manner which supports and motivates a child to learn. This is not always easy and often takes a great deal of persistence (from all involved- the child, teacher, coach and parent).

Children are not always interested in learning new elements and may not understand why it is important to learn them. They show resistance. Here is where the other side of being supportive kicks in. This is the support that makes a child persist with their activity and for a parent, teacher, coach to be firm whilst still allowing the child to know they are loved. Children need to know that it is O.K to make a mistake and O.K to not to able to complete the task at hand. It is completely acceptable to give it a go and fail. We are here to help them get back up, help them to take the time to learn the skill, help them to try a different approach. We cannot allow our children to walk away from an activity every time they find it hard as they will never learn persistence.

Persistence builds character and resilience. Both are attributes needed to negotiate the world we live in. For these characteristics to thrive there needs to be trust. Trust in parents, trust in teachers trust in friends. With trust, children are willing to learn and absorb the information around them. A child needs to trust that a parent will be there to help them when they fall and in turn trust allows a child to feel confident. This leads to feelings of accomplishment and success of knowing that; “I may not get it straight away but with mum, dad and the teachers help I can and will master this task”.

These positive character traits (of persistence, and resilience) are learnt throughout life. And so too is the negative trait (as used in this example), resistance. Children and young people need constant support and determination from us to learn and be reminded of the positive traits.

The foundations commence in the early years. Parents can assist children to begin developing these skills early in life. Parents, teachers, coaches, grandparents, and friends can create opportunity for our young ones to extend themselves to face challenges. It is not be long before they are off to school and making decisions on their own and facing their own challenges. We need them to be around positive people who know how to challenge them in the right manner and bring out the best in them. We need to trust ourselves that as parents, we have provided children with enough experience for them to develop persistence when faced with new challenges.

Expose your child to the world with realistic challenges and give them opportunities to help them on their journey. Teach them persistence, support them and every day demonstrate that you love them. Learn through doing and don’t be afraid to seek help. We all need help in different areas.

We are here to help your child learn to swim, develop persistence and gain confidence. Here is a quote I love “you haven’t failed until you stop trying”


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