Nurturing Perseverance in 4 & 5 Year Olds
The younger children are the more pronounced their differences, especially when it comes to perseverance.
Children in this age group generally want to do things to make their parents proud and can be easily discouraged when they think the failed. Parents are in the unique position to “turn that frown upside down” with positive talk about the smallest detail that they are proud of. As a martial arts instructor, I get concerned when students are too distracted by their parents. At the same time, I know, as a parent, that these small windows are great ways to shape the future for the child. These little moments for a parent to interact with the student across the floor are priceless. A smile with a nod, thumbs up, or softly clapping your hands are great ways to make the point. This is how to nurture perseverance.
A word of caution. Some parents are visibly or vocally critical of their children’s performance on the mats. This creates the impression with the child that they are doing a bad job. Trust me, this will not end well. The whole reason they are looking at you is for approval, if you don’t do that, they perceive that you don’t care. When you create that impression the negative behavior is magnified. I see this happen to frequently to say otherwise.
Perseverance in 4 to 5-year-olds is observed when they continuously try and keep trying, despite facing challenges or difficulties. Here are a few examples that you should be responding to in a positive manner:
- Continuing Practice: Whether it’s tying their shoes, coloring within the lines, or learning to write their name, you’ll see them practicing over and over again until they get it right.
- Problem-Solving: They demonstrate perseverance while solving puzzles, building blocks, or putting their toys together, without giving up.
- Not Giving Up When Faced with Challenges: This could mean persisting in climbing a slide, riding a tricycle, or jumping rope, even though they may initially fail.
- Learning New Skills: Children of this age group often learn a lot of new skills. They may continue trying to hold a crayon correctly, learning a new dance routine, or mastering a game until they succeed.
- Asking Questions: Their relentless curiosity and persistence in asking “why” on all sorts of subjects show perseverance.
- Independence: They insist on doing things on their own, like getting dressed, brushing teeth or packing their school bag, even if it takes longer.
- Emotional Resilience: Perseverance is also seen emotionally, like when a child works hard to control a tantrum or regulates their emotions despite feeling upset or disappointed.
In all these instances, even if they struggle or meet with failure, the key to perseverance is their willingness to keep trying. As a parent or teacher, it’s important to encourage and praise effort, not just successes, to foster a mindset of perseverance and resilience.
I have found that solving puzzles with your child can build perseverance, it also build teamwork. Eventually they make want to solve the puzzle on their own.
In Part Two of this series will discuss the nuances of Perseverance in 6 & 7 Year Olds
Master Bill DeGrafft is an active member of the United Tang Soo Do Federation and is a Certified 5th Dan Master Instructor, having also trained in Sun Mu Sul, Chen Style Taiji, Tai Chi Gung, and Wing Chun. He is the owner at Ponte Vedra Martial Arts Academy. He is also COBRA Self Defense Certified and the Academy is the areas only Authorized COBRA Training Center. Learn more about the academy at https:pvmaa.com, “Like” us on Facebook at PonteVedraMartialArtsAcademy and follow up on Instagram, pontevedramartialartsacademy.