June 15, 2022

7 Tips to Build Grit and Resilience in Children

woman and baby child sitting on yoga mat with dumbbells and playing together

Grit and resilience are essential ingredients to success in life, business, and school. But what does that mean? And more importantly, how can you build grit and resilience in your children? Here are seven tips to help you build grit and resilience in your children today.

 

woman and baby child sitting on yoga mat with dumbbells and playing together

1) Praise effort, not success

Kids who are praised for their intelligence risk becoming less resilient later on. After all, they figure that if they’re smart enough, they don’t need to work hard.

On the other hand, praising effort teaches kids that even if they don’t succeed at first—and perhaps even if they fail spectacularly—they can develop skills by persevering.

The lesson: Emphasize perseverance rather than brilliance when praising your child.

2) Teach kids to be flexible

Flexibility is another important component of grit. When things don’t go as planned, are you able to adjust your approach? Can you find a new way to achieve your goal or make lemonade out of lemons? When parents guide their children towards healthy lifestyle choices, they are also building resilience.

 

Mother teaching little girl yoga

3) Accept others’ help

Accepting others’ help doesn’t just mean accepting support from family and friends. If your child is struggling with a big project, consider hiring an outside tutor or asking for assistance from your school counselor or principal.

As you teach your child to handle difficult situations, it’s important that you be prepared for some frustration on their part.

Remember that if you push them too hard, they may become discouraged. On the other hand, if you don’t push them enough, they might not grow as much as they could have.

4) Increase your empathy

You can’t control everything that happens to you—and it’s not always a good idea. But if you want your child to develop grit, empathy is key.

Re-channel your children’s anger into productive action by asking questions like: What could you have done differently? What would have happened if you had made a different choice? Understanding how their actions affect others will give them tools for working through future problems.

 

Smiling kid is holding fragrant bouquet of lavender

5) Give kids control over their choices

Giving kids choices isn’t just empowering, it’s also a great way to build grit. Studies show that people who feel they have control over their lives are more resilient when faced with setbacks than those who feel like they’re helpless victims of fate.

 

happy little girl

Giving your kids lots of small opportunities for choice will help them develop resilience, which will also contribute to better decision-making skills as they get older.

6) Go on field trips

Field trips provide hands-on experiences that build grit, resilience, problem-solving skills, and even independence. They also build up a child’s confidence as they learn that they can face new challenges head on.

If you have a road trip coming up, try bringing along some Legos or a science kit for your kid to play with on long car rides.

 

child freely running in a field

7) Teach kids to get back up after a fall

If a child falls, resist yelling at him for hurting himself. Get him up as quickly as possible and encourage him to try again. Don’t praise or reward a child for not getting hurt; instead, tell them that you are proud of them for getting back up after they fell.

By teaching your kids how to get back up, you will be helping them develop resilience and grit—which are important life skills that can help them succeed.

What is grit?

Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals. It’s having stamina. To be gritty is to sustain interest over a long period of time, through failure, adversity, uncertainty, discomfort, or boredom.

Grit is seeing challenges as opportunities to improve; it’s persisting through obstacles. Over time grit builds confidence and competence—in fact, grit may be a better predictor of success than intelligence.

Not only do gritty people have more self-confidence (they believe they can achieve their goals), but they also have less anxiety (they believe that if they fail at something it won’t define them as a person). So how do you develop your kids’ grit?

How can I improve my child’s grit?

Parents have long been looking for ways to improve their child’s grit. It’s something they don’t teach at school or on parenting courses, but it has a direct effect on how successful your child is later in life.

Parents need to instill courage, persistence, self-discipline, dedication and other important life skills in their children. Teach them that with hard work they can achieve whatever they want, but don’t expect them to just absorb those ideas from watching you – you have to teach it!

 

Mom and boy exercise on the gym mat

Help them find something they love There’s no way around it – hard work isn’t fun or easy for most kids at first.

Building a strong sense of grit means letting go of short-term gratification so your child learns to embrace a little pain today so they can enjoy long-term success tomorrow. If they’re truly passionate about what they’re doing, though, perseverance will be easier – especially if you use their passion as an opportunity to build mutual trust and confidence between yourselves.

Once kids get invested in something (be it sport or learning an instrument), every no becomes another step closer to yes.

What is Resilience?

Simply put, resilience is your ability to bounce back from a stressful or challenging situation. But resilience isn’t just a one-and-done event; it’s an ongoing process that you must work on day after day.

 

mom teaching child to have patience in her studies

It’s also important to remember that resilience isn’t just something that one person can develop. There are several people involved: resilient children, resilient parents, and resilient teachers.

7 Activities to improve child’s Resilience

Resilience is defined as a set of emotional, behavioral, and psychological abilities that allows people to cope with adversity.

Parents can help children build resilience by participating in 7 types of activities:

  1. Mentoring/role modeling;
  2. Conflict resolution training;
  3. Helping develop problem-solving skills;
  4. Encouraging persistence;
  5. Helping cultivate gratitude;
  6. Practicing compassion;
  7. Positive reinforcement.

By engaging their kids in these activities, parents are helping them build grit.

 

parents teaching child not to give up

Why are passion and perseverance important?

Passion and perseverance are critical components of grit, which has been shown by researcher Angela Duckworth to be one of the best predictors of success. When we look at high achievers—the famous, successful people throughout history—what really stands out is their dogged persistence: They don’t give up when things get hard; they work harder, she said in a New York Times interview.

How to build self-esteem in Children?

It’s not easy to build self-esteem in children. But, as a parent, it is one of your main goals. You want your child to grow up feeling comfortable, confident, and able.

The easiest way to do that is through a few simple practices.

  1. Be Present: When you’re with your child, be completely there mentally and emotionally–no TV or text messages allowed!
  2. Praise Effort: Focus on what they do rather than what they accomplish or don’t accomplish–focus on effort rather than the outcome.
  3. Teach Problem Solving: Use tough situations as opportunities for them to solve a problem.
  4. Teach Them Empathy: Take time every day to help them understand their emotions.
  5. Model Gratitude: Show gratitude often.
  6. Teach Personal Responsibility: Help them learn from their mistakes.
  7. Reward Effort, Not Outcome: Use consistent positive reinforcement.

You can build grit and resilience in children by helping them understand that setbacks are inevitable and how to deal with them when they happen. Learning how to move forward after failure is one of life’s most important lessons.

 

child showing resilience in playing guitar

What causes low self-esteem?

Self-esteem is an important part of resilience that can’t be ignored. If you’re suffering from low self-esteem, you may feel like giving up. But, if you work at it, there are ways to build your self-esteem.

Create an “I’m great board” where you post all of your accomplishments. Make sure that every time something good happens to you (like finishing a project or getting a promotion), you write it down and put it on your board so that whenever you need some positive reinforcement, all you have to do is look at what’s already been accomplished.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help when building resilience; everyone needs a little extra support sometimes!

 

father teaching grit to her daughter while ice skating

How do you fix low self-esteem in Kids?

Simply stated, self-esteem is defined as an enduring belief in one’s own worth or abilities. Kids who possess high self-esteem are able to overcome challenges and see failure as an opportunity for growth. The child with low self-esteem, on the other hand, lacks confidence and easily gives up when things don’t go their way. So how do you help a kid develop a healthy sense of self? Consider some of these ideas:

What do you need to accomplish your goals?: High-achieving children and adults tend to have strong skills in three areas:

Goal setting – They have clearly defined objectives, know what steps they need to take and how long it will take them to achieve their goals. This includes realistic benchmarks that enable them to assess whether they are on track or not.

Effectiveness – These people focus on taking action. They don’t engage in excuses about why something won’t work but instead seek alternative solutions.

Perseverance – Instead of viewing obstacles as an excuse for failure, these individuals persist until they find a way through to success

What is a Growth Mindset?

Growth mindset is a buzzword these days, but what does it mean exactly? A growth mindset is essentially the opposite of a fixed mindset. With a growth mindset, you believe that intelligence can be developed through hard work; with a fixed mindset, you believe that your innate qualities are set at birth and cannot be changed.

Having kids understand that their intelligence can grow may not seem like such an important skill, but research shows that having a growth mindset really does make us more successful—and can even increase our life expectancy.

Every parent wants their child to grow up happy and successful, but teaching children about being successful takes time and effort.

 

children working in office like adult business people

What are 3 characteristics of a growth mindset in Children?

Growth mindset is a term coined by Carol Dweck, referring to a belief that ability can be developed through dedication. Basically, people with growth mindsets believe they have a certain amount of ability or talent but that amount can change.

Thus, your own effort can help you achieve more. Someone with a fixed mindset might believe they don’t have any real talent for something and so won’t put in an effort to improve at it because why bother?

While some people are born with more natural abilities than others, it’s always important for children to understand that intelligence and other abilities are expandable; dedicated effort pays off. Here are 3 characteristics of kids who embody these growth mindsets.

1. They focus on progress over perfectionism:

Kids who learn about their own progress rather than dwelling on mistakes are better able to develop resilience and grit because they realize even negative events can ultimately lead to improvement. Growth mindset students have an easier time recovering from setbacks when they believe mistakes aren’t indicators of overall ability—just part of learning what does work. When things don’t go as planned, those with a growth mindset know there is still room for improvement and look forward to learning how they can make things right next time around. Perfectionists find it hard to bounce back after failure or disappointment because a setback seems like confirmation that they’re not good enough as is—and why would they try again?

 

father and baby doing yoga on the beach

2. They see effort as something they can control:

There’s a big difference between someone who has a natural talent at basketball and someone who tries really hard but just isn’t very good at it. But since our society often equates talent with innate abilities, many kids grow up thinking they either were born talented or not. Those with growth mindsets understand that effort and practice do matter; no one gets talented at anything without giving it some effort first. Because effort matters so much, these kids tend to be naturally resilient when it comes to facing challenges; sure, some might be more inclined towards these kinds of situations than others but all humans have some level of control over what happens to them in life.

3. They believe failures are opportunities to learn:

Growth mindset kids know that everyone fails at some point; being willing to try new things means putting yourself out there where you risk messing up sometimes. The key is treating mistakes as opportunities to learn and improve instead of getting upset by them.

For example, if your child struggles with adding fractions in math class, focus on helping him pinpoint where went wrong so he can get back on track and reach his goal (being able to solve fractions). If your child got a bad grade in science class, use it as an opportunity to review concepts together and explain where he might have gone wrong.

 

Girl outside smiling with confidence

What do you put on a dream board?

While building a dream board might seem more like something you do when planning your next vacation than getting over a fear of public speaking, it can help. A dream board is actually just a collage with images or words that represent your goals.

It may include photos of people you admire, magazine cutouts of tattoos you’d like to get someday, postcards from places you want to visit—basically whatever helps you focus on what it is that you want out of life.

What is the purpose of a dream board?

Dream boards serve as visual reminders of your long-term goals. There’s nothing that brings you closer to a goal like staring at it every day, so hang your dream board up where you can see it every day for extra motivation.

These poster boards are often made by pasting magazine cutouts onto a poster board, but don’t stop there! There are tons of ways to express yourself creatively through your dream board – glue on photos, quotes, or drawings.

 

Mom and daughter reading popup books

Do Dream boards work?

Sure, vision boards might look super hokey (who doesn’t remember making one in elementary school?), but they work. A study published by the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota found that participants who made vision boards were more likely to achieve their goals than those who didn’t.

And a 2013 study conducted by James M. Roberts at Baylor University found that those who made vision boards showed higher motivation and goal attainment levels than non-vision-boarders.

Conclusion

As a parent, it’s your responsibility to help build grit and resilience in children. It’s not only your obligation but also a great way for you to be there for them through their journey of life. The key is knowing how.

Building these traits in your kids requires more than just strong genes; at times, all it takes is showing them what to do so they can learn from themselves and discover their own path.

Taryn Crimi

Taryn Crimi

Taryn is an international intuitive, focused on helping to empower you manifest your best life!

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