Persistence refers to how long a child will stick with a task. Being persistent is especially helpful when children need to learn new things. And right now—in the midst of a pandemic—we’re learning new things all the time! Grown-ups can encourage children to persist, helping them find success in relationships, school, and life. The resources in this bundle will help families talk about persistence and encourage kids and grown-ups to persist every day.
Take a Break, Take a Breath, and Try Again
In this video, we see Grover and his cousin Marty talk about persistence. Grover reminds Marty that sometimes when you’re trying something new and you don’t get it right, that it can help to take a break, take a breath, and try again.
- Before watching: Talk about a time when you were trying to learn a new skill—what was it like? Did you ‘get it’ on the first try?
- While you watch: Notice how Grover helps Marty take a breath and take a break.
- After watching: Now give it a try! Take a slow deep breath, in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Then try your hand at a task you’ve been working hard to accomplish.
Persistence in Parenting
Caring for children is hard work. There’s always something to learn. And just when you think you’ve figured it all out or gotten into a steady routine, things change. It can be frustrating! Persistence isn’t just for kids. Grown-ups need to persist, too, especially in parenting. Try these strategies to help you work through challenging situations and to parent with confidence.
Some days, daily activities and routines can present opportunities to practice persistence. When things aren’t going smoothly or when children aren’t cooperating, as much as you can, stay calm and try to change the energy of the situation by changing your approach. Instead of demanding, offer choices.
Correct with Kindness
When offering correction or trying to redirect your child, lead with a strength-based compliment. For example, you might say, “I’m so glad you’re determined to finish building that tower. Now it’s time for dinner. Can you help me set the table, and you can come back to this after we eat?”
Remember that your child is communicating through his behavior—even his unwanted behavior. Do your best to stay curious and try to discover (and affirm) his strengths!
Having a positive outlook or an “I can do it!” attitude is tremendously helpful when trying to master new things. When your child (or you, for that matter) believes in her abilities, she’ll be more willing to continue trying. She knows that eventually she’ll be successful.
Cultivating positivity can take time though. An activity like the one in the graphic below can help you and your child practice positive thinking throughout the day, and especially during challenging times. Together with your child, write down a few mood-boosting ideas to practice when one of you is feeling frustrated or down.
Pause & Persist
We need to practice persistence each and every day. And more likely than not, there will also be moments when we need to pause and ‘reset’ before moving on. In this picture, we see that Grover and his mom both benefit from taking a deep breath and a quick stretch break. Talk together with your child. Ask, “Can you think of a time when you needed to take a break?” Remind your child (and yourself) that it’s absolutely okay to do this—even several times a day. Taking time to pause can help you approach a challenge with more energy and confidence.