“Why do most individuals make use of only a small
percentage of their resources, whereas a few exceptional
individuals push themselves to their limits? Why do some
individuals accomplish more than others of equal intelligence?
One personal quality that is shared by most high
achieving and successful people is grit. Grit may be the
quality that sets these highly successful individuals apart
from everyone else” (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews & Kelly, 2007).
Kids need ‘grit’ if they are to succeed in school. The problem is no one has clearly defined this skill or told parents how to help their child develop it.
How can parents help kids develop this elusive thing called ‘grit’ if they don’t know what it is?
These are some of the definitions I have come across.
Grit is determination and perseverance, it is bravery and fortitude, it is strength of character, it is ‘stick with-it-ness.
It seems to be something that we recognize when we see it. A bit like knowing what ‘art’ is.
Some describe it as a skill that turns potential into reality. Now that is something we can all get behind. It is something we all need.
The problem is that ‘grit’ is not one skill. It is a combination of skills that keep students working at something until they have mastered it.
So what are these skills?
Here are three that form the backbone of ‘grit’.
- Perseverance – the determination to get a job done -is definitely one of skills that make up the set.
2. Self-confidence is another skill all children need. They need feel confident that they can get the work done even if it takes time and effort
3. Motivation – the ability to start a project and the energy and enthusiasm to finish it. This is Perhaps the most important skill children need.
Here are some simple actions you can take to help your child develop three important skills.
To develop perseverance – Praise the Process not the Product
Your child wants to please you. When you praise your child he or she will try to repeat the actions that lead to the praise.
It is easy to praise a child for getting good marks on a test or piece of homework but that alone does not help the child get good marks next time.
Your child needs to know WHY he got good marks so that he can do the same thing again.
Be pleased with your child when the mark is good (the product) but to be really help your child get good marks again make sure you also praise what he did to get the good mark (the process).
You might say something like this –
“It is great you got an A on that assignment. I really liked how you followed instructions carefully/made a plan to get the work done on time/checked your work before handing it in/asked for help when you needed it….”.
Praise what you want to see more of. Praise the process that helped your child get a great grade.
To develop self-confidence use Brownie Points.
‘Brownie Points’ (named after the points you got in Brownies – young girl guides in the UK girl scouts in the US) are a good and easy way to help your child develop self-confidence.
A ‘Brownie Point’ is anything that makes your child feel good about something thy have done. It can be a smile, a comment, a recognition of achievement, a reward, even a joyful conversation.
The rule of thumb us that children need ten Brownie Points a day to maintain progress and more if they are lacking in self-confidence.
Also, one bad remark, one negative comment, wipes out 5 Brownie Points!
Think of all the ways you can give your child a ‘Brownie Point’ and get started today.
Help children stay motivated
The best way to develop grit is to make sure that your child is motivated to start, follow through and compete a project. Motivation can sometimes be hard to find.
Without motivation the learning process never takes off. Learning becomes a struggle, a struggle without end. And children soon give up.
Children lose motivation for many reasons. Reigniting a child’s love of learning can be difficult, especially if the child has been unmotivated for some time.
That is why I created the course – ‘Success Start Here’. This course shows you how to help your child find joy and fulfilment from the learning process.
Check it out here. https://leadingtolearning.com/Success
Don’t despair. Now you know what skills your child needs to have that elusive quality – grit – you can help turn your child’s potential into reality.
If you want a host of practical tips –
Check out https://leadingtolearning.com/Success
You make the difference. You can give your child the skills that lead to success.