How a parent responds when a child fails at a task sets the stage for how the child will feel about herself and how she will approach future learning situations. There are many things you can do to teach your child to stick with it, not give up and keep trying. Helping your child learn to persevere and approach problems with optimism and enthusiasm is one of the greatest gifts you can give her. Here are some teaching tips to try to help your child learn to stick with a challenging task.
When your child struggles with something new, whether he succeeds or fails, focus your comments on his effort rather than his ability. A comment such as, "You really tried hard" teaches him to value effort, seek challenges and persist in the face of obstacles. When you emphasize effort rather than ability, you will help children respect effort in both themselves and in others. And they will likely believe that if they try harder they might succeed, instead of thinking that they're just not smart enough to do something.
Break down tasks for your child into small manageable parts. Tasks that might seem impossible to a child can feel quite doable when they're taken one step at a time. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from taking the time to work through the problem in a calm and relaxed way and seeing the task through to the end is exciting and empowering for young children.
Guide your child but don't do things for her. Be there to offer her strategies along the way, but recognize that she is competent and capable of working through many problems on her own. Constantly doing things for your child will undermine her confidence in her own ability to handle them.
Teach by example. When you are problem solving, think out loud about what you're planning to do to work through the problem. Say things such as, "I'm not going to give up" and "I just need to think about it, take my time and go slowly" or "Maybe if I tried this, it might help." In the beginning, it might feel unnatural to say out loud what you would normally think to yourself, but teaching young children by example is definitely one of the most effective ways to help them learn.