Whether he’ll be trying to figure out a tough math problem, mastering the art of playing an instrument or attempting to hang in there when he has a demanding coach someday, your child’s key to success is a can-do attitude. And if you’re noticing your toddler would rather quit than commit when he tries new things, you can turn around his attitude with a few simple steps.
Let Him Pursue His Interests
If you’re the one picking all his activities, your child might be bored or just plain dislike the task he’s trying to learn. If he’d rather look at books all day, and you’re insisting he go outside and learn how to dribble a basketball, you should look at your motivation, not his.
Letting him lead the way toward his favorite hobbies will naturally build his tendency to stick with it.
Is It Too Hard?
There’s a difference between challenging a child and overwhelming him. If you’re expecting him to begin reading in his toddler years, he might not be up to the task. If he’d rather look at pictures and tell his own stories, that’s okay. That’s how many kids begin their interest in reading.
But if you push too hard to grasp material that may be over his head at such a young age, you could make him feel stupid. That may cause him to want to give up.
If you want to teach your child to never give up, you need to show him through your actions what that looks like. Let him see you struggling with something you’re doing, whether it’s doing a home repair or trying a new hobby. Tell him if you’re having a hard time with it, and tell him that you’re committed to seeing it through.
Don’t judge your child’s success by comparing him to someone else’s ability level. If a toddler friend of your child’s can draw really well, but you can’t quite make out your own child’s sketches, don’t start breathing down his neck. If he feels he doesn’t have an innate talent because of comments you make, there’s no motivation for him to try to get better.
You don’t have to tell him he’s great because you shouldn’t lie to your child. But you don’t have to say anything negative. Just tell him the truth – that you love seeing his drawings.
Stop Talking About Luck
When you chalk things up to luck, you’re dismissing all the hard work it took to make that moment happen. Things just don’t happen by themselves – they require effort and lots of smaller moments where you keep working no matter what. If your child thinks luck is responsible for good fortune, there won’t be any reason to buckle down when the going gets tough.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.