Children who understand what perseverance means and have role models who display those skills can gain an advantage over their peers who give up quickly.

This post is adapted from Principal Matters: 101 Tips for Creating Collaborative Relationships between After-School Programs and School Leaders by Paul Young, PhD

What is perseverance? It is commitment, hard work, patience, endurance. It is being able to bear difficulties calmly and without complaint. Kids with these skills are willing to try and try again. Children who understand what perseverance means and have role models who display those skills can gain an advantage over their peers who give up quickly. These skills can be assets as children become young adults and enter the workforce.

Reinforce children’s efforts with a variety of statements when they face challenges:

  • Always finish what you start.
  • When something doesn’t work right, try again and again.
  • Don’t give up on difficult jobs or situations.
  • Work a little harder or a few minutes longer on a task that you do not like.
  • When something starts to bother you, wait as long as you can before you express frustration.
  • Don’t lose your temper when something upsets you.
  • Focus on issues, not personalities when you lose your patience.

Principals and afterschool program directors will find that children who are supported and encouraged to develop perseverance skills will do better in the classroom. Afterschool is an appropriate place, a nurturing place and a safe place for children to learn academic and social skills that will equip them for success in life. Help children recognize opportunities for perseverance. Your example could become the motivation needed for a young child to change behavior.