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We all want our children to try their best and go for the gold. And if at first they don’t succeed? Get back on the (rocking) horse, kid. After all, research suggests that the best predictor of long-term success isn’t intelligence or talent — it’s good old-fashioned grit. And fortunately, unlike intelligence or talent, grit can grow. Here are five ways to encourage perseverance and resilience in your child.


Give them the opportunity to learn something new.

Let your child choose something they’d like to learn — whether it’s guitar, basketball, whatever. Then sign them up for lessons, and ask them to commit to the session (so no quitting the minute the going gets tough). You can also put this into practice at home. Do they want to grate the cheese for dinner? Pack their own suitcase for a weekend away? Let them! Sure, it’s easier if you do it yourself. But then they never learn how to do things for themselves. If it’s the first time they’ve ever done it, by all means, show them how. But encourage their desire to take on a challenge. After all, when you show you believe in them, they start to believe in themselves — which is the basis of grit.


Resist the temptation to fix things for them.

When they struggle, don’t step in and just do the science project (or the beaded necklace, or the block tower, or whatever they’re having trouble with) for them. Instead, empathize by saying something like, “Wow, that is tough.” Then, once they’ve calmed down, ask, “What else do you think you could you try?” Oh, and while you’re at it — don’t “improve” their work either. When you sweep the kitchen floor right after they did it, or “help” them with the drawing they’re making for Grandma, you’re telling them their own accomplishments aren’t good enough.


Praise them for effort, not just results.

There’s nothing wrong with shouting “You did it!” when your child rides their bike without training wheels for the first time. But if they fall — maybe even again and again — it’s just as important to praise them for trying. Support your kid for taking risks and going for it, whether or not they succeed.


Let your child see you struggle. 

Learn to knit. Train for a triathlon. Take on a new challenge, and when you get discouraged or even fail, let your kid know — then share how you bounce back and try again. And when you do reach a goal? Celebrate your success together. Show your child that working hard to accomplish something you’ve never tried before is worth it, even when you encounter setbacks along the way.


Give thanks.

Every night at dinner or bedtime, take turns naming things you’re grateful for. Keeping your eyes on the prize isn’t easy when you’re taking on a challenge — especially when you hit bumps along the way. Teach your kid to embrace a positive, can-do attitude by focusing on the good stuff in their life — and your own.


Help your child develop grit and other social and emotional skills — and have fun while they’re at it! — with the Q Wunder app

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