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4 Ways To Give Your Child Grit

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.”

The biggest buzzword in education is grit, writes Nicki Letts, who provides these ideas to help your child develop it.

  1. Nurture them. Lab experiments show that baby rats whose mothers licked and groomed them to reassure them after a stressful experience grew up to be more exploratory, better at mazes, and able to find food more quickly. Paul Tough refers to studies that show children develop perseverance if their need for emotional warmth is met.
  2. Demand high effort. The ability to think about how we think – referred to as metacognition by psychologists – boosts grit’s power. Help your child to identify ‘shortcomings’ in their behaviour – whether it’s a weak chess move or an angry outburst – and to find alternative solutions.
  3. Teach them to use the ‘if/then’ statement to link obstacles and ways to overcome them. ‘If I watch TV, then I won’t do my homework. I will do my homework first, then I can watch TV later.’
  4. Let them fail. Children need hardships they can overcome, says Paul. What we often do instead is shield them. Let them take responsibility for their mistakes. Raise the ceiling, not the floor.

Illustration Cheri Hughes

See Nicki’s full article here

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