Teaching Values: Hard Work and Determination


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At Kids Village, we understand that we’re not just teaching children academics that will translate into careers; we are teaching lifelong lessons that will help shape the responsible, happy, caring citizens of tomorrow. That is why we feel it’s important to integrate values into our curriculum.

Every month we highlight a new value that helps our students become more responsible and caring members of the community. This value is explored as the final piece of each school day in a short lesson, story, or by role playing. Each child receives a colorful wristband at the end of the month after demonstrating mastery of this value to positively reinforce the application of the value in day-to-day situations.

This April, our value is Hard Work and Determination

Raising our children sometimes feels like it’s all about the little milestones: first steps, first words, or first days at school. That’s why it is important to remember to encourage not only the outcomes but also the hard work and determination that lead up to them.

Hard work and determination are important values to teach children and have a lifelong impact on their future capabilities, confidence, and happiness. Teaching our little ones to persevere when things get tough and to work hard to achieve their goals and aspirations is one of the most important skills our children can learn.

At Kids Village, our teachers will take time at the end of the school day every day this month to talk about hard work and determination with our students. It’s equally important that your child sees these values reinforced at home.

Here are 8 ways you can teach your child hard work and determination:

1. Praise the effort more than the accomplishment

Children are naturally going to want to continue actions that are positively reinforced by the adults around them. If they’re praised more positively for being naturally good at doing a cartwheel than when they work hard but fail at going across the monkey bars, they’re learning that better outcomes result from doing things that are easy to them instead of learning that it’s okay to take time to learn something that is a little more difficult.

2. Give specific praise

“Good job” or “good try” doesn’t give your child the important information they need about their actions to learn. When you praise your child, be specific about what you saw and what you’d like them to continue doing in the future.

“You worked so hard to research and write your book report! I thought it was great that you took notes while you were reading so you could remember the important information you wanted to include in your report.”

3. Help when necessary but never take over

Sometimes a child really does need help, and when that happens it’s important to remember not to take over. Concentrate on guiding your child to find the solution or complete the task instead of doing something for them. Ask them questions or offer ideas on where they might find a solution. Show them and let them try by themselves. Remember that letting them accomplish a task on their own not only teaches them determination and hard work, but also teaches them that you have confidence in them and believe they are capable of learning how to do things by themselves.

4. Let them fail

Nobody likes to see their child fail, but even this can be an important learning experience for your child. Let your child make a mistake, and afterward talk to them. Don’t talk about what they did wrong or what they could have done better; talk about the hard work and determination they showed while they were trying to solve the problem.

“You worked so hard to teach yourself a new song on the piano today. It was great that you spent the time to think about how the song sounds and to work to figure out the notes. Sometimes it’s nice to take a break when we get frustrated and come back and try again a little later!”

5. Turn it into a game

If your child is getting frustrated and wants to give up, sometimes its time for mom or dad to step in and get creative to keep the learning process fun. Is your child getting frustrated at the time it is taking to clean their room? Teach them a little creativity and determination by turning the chore into “room cleaning Olympics” with basketball dirty laundry, a clothes folding contest, and by timing him or her to make the bed.

6. Show by example

You are teaching your kids by example every single day whether you recognize it or not. Intentionally doing things that take hard work or determination in front of your kids teaches them that even as an adult it’s important to work hard to achieve your goals.

7. Talk about things you work hard at

Talk to your kids about something that happened to you today where you thought about giving up but decided to try again instead. Tell him or her about a mistake you made and how you problem-solved to create a better outcome. Tell your child about something that was really difficult that you accomplished. Encourage your children to talk to you about things in their life that they work hard at, too! These conversations help fuel the thought processes behind hard work and determination.

8. Read books

Books can be such a powerful tool in teaching our children life lessons. It gives our children an opportunity to relate to a character and to see these values in practice in an easily understood environment. There are several great books about teaching determination and hard work, including:

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

Flight School by Lita Judge

Little One Step by Simon James

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

What are some ways you teach hard work and determination in your home?