How to Teach Children Persistence

keep trying

Persistence is an essential trait for success in any field.

Whether it's academics, sports, or any other pursuit, the ability to keep going when things get tough is what separates winners from losers.

As a parent or caregiver, you have a critical role to play in teaching children persistence. 

This will help the mental well-being of your child.

Here are some tips to help you out.

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Deb Corbitt, LPC

Deb Corbitt, LPC

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Emily Murphy, LPC

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Abigail Corless, LPCC

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Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

Melanie Klinke, MA, MFTC, LPCC

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Sarah Webster, SWC

Sarah Webster, SWC

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Seth Boughton, SWC

Seth Boughton, SWC

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Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Barbra Styles, LPC, LAC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

Mackenzie Batson, LPCC

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Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Cassondra Chagnon, LPCC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
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1. Lead by Example

Children learn by watching their parents and caregivers.

If they see you giving up when faced with challenges, they are likely to do the same.

  • Show enthusiasm and commitment when tackling a project
  • Praise yourself for finishing tough tasks
  • Be open-minded and willing to try new things
  • Appreciate the small successes you achieve along the way
  • Share stories of how you overcame difficult challenges in your own life
  • Discuss your mistakes and how you learned from them

So, make sure you model the behavior you want to see in your children. This is a good step to consider when teaching them persistence.

2. Encourage Them to Take Calculated Risks

Taking risks is a crucial part of learning and growth.

Encourage your children to try new things and take on challenges, even if they are unsure of themselves.

Teach them to evaluate risk. Show your child how to evaluate the risks and rewards of a situation. This will help them make informed decisions and reduce the chance of failure.

Help your child understand that taking risks is not always easy, but that perseverance pays off in the end. Encourage them to keep going, even when things get tough.

When they encounter obstacles, help them stay motivated by reminding them of the benefits of persistence.

3. Praise Effort, Not Just Results

Children need to know that effort is just as important as results.

Instead of only praising your child for getting good grades or winning a game, focus on their effort.

Some things you can say are:

  • "I'm proud of you for working hard and not giving up."
  • "It's ok if you didn't win, but I still appreciate your commitment to the game."
  • "You should be proud of yourself for putting so much effort into this project."
  • This will help them understand that there are rewards for taking on challenges and sticking with them, even if they don't always get the result they want.

Tell them that you're proud of the hard work they put in, even if they didn't achieve the outcome they wanted.

Highlight that the focus is on learning and growing, not on achieving a certain outcome.

This will take the pressure off your child and encourage them to take more risks.

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4. Set Goals and Track Progress

Setting goals can help children learn persistence.

If they have a clear idea of what they want to achieve, they are more likely to keep working toward it.

1. Short-Term Goals: These are goals that can be achieved in the near future and measure progress over a short period of time. Examples include completing a small project, learning a skill, or mastering a specific topic.

2. Long-Term Goals: These are goals that take more time to accomplish and require a long-term commitment. Examples include getting a degree, mastering a sport, or developing a new skill set.

Help your child break down their big goals into smaller tasks so that they can monitor their progress more easily and stay motivated along the way.

Reward them for completing each task to keep them going and remind them of how far they have come.

Encourage your children to set goals, and help them track their progress along the way. Celebrate their successes and help them refocus when they experience setbacks.

5. Provide Support and Guidance

Persistence can be tough, especially for children.

As a parent, you can provide the support and guidance needed to keep going.

  • Listen to your child's struggles and offer words of encouragement
  • Help them come up with strategies to overcome obstacles
  • Lead by example
  • Explain the benefits of persistence
  • Remind them that it's okay to make mistakes

Listen to your child's struggles, offer words of encouragement, and help them come up with strategies to overcome obstacles.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I teach my child persistence?

You can teach your child persistence by modeling the behavior yourself, encouraging them to take risks, setting goals and tracking progress, praising effort, and providing support and guidance.

What are some strategies for encouraging children to take risks?

Strategies for encouraging children to take calculated risks include starting small, highlighting the benefits, being supportive, teaching them to evaluate risk, emphasizing learning, celebrating success, and encouraging perseverance.

How can I praise my child's effort without focusing on results?

Focus on your child's effort by praising specific actions they took, such as working hard or showing determination.

Avoid overly praising results or using comparisons to other children.

How can I help my child persist when things get tough?

Help your child by providing support and guidance, using positive language, highlighting the progress they have made, breaking down the challenge into smaller steps, and motivating them with positive affirmations.

How long does it take to teach persistence?

Teaching persistence is a long-term process that requires patience and commitment.

It may take months or even years to help your child develop persistence, but the rewards are worth it in the end.

What should I do if my child continues to give up easily?

If your child continues to struggle with persistence, try to understand the root cause of their resistance.

This could be a lack of self-confidence, fear of failure, or other underlying issues. Provide support, consult with a teacher or counselor, and consider engaging in activities that promote persistence.


Teaching children persistence is a long-term process that requires patience and commitment.

By leading by example, encouraging risk-taking, praising effort, setting goals, and providing support, you can help your child develop the persistence needed to succeed in life.

Remember to celebrate the small victories along the way and stay positive, even in the face of setbacks.

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May 25th, 2024

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