How to Teach Perseverance

My oldest son scraped at the interior of the giant pumpkin he was preparing this past month.

“This is hard!” he exclaimed.

I smiled, “You’re sticking with it though, that means you’re developing perseverance!”

After some time, he came to me, hands covered in pumpkin, “I’m finished!”

He beamed as he carried his pumpkin onto our front porch.

There are many opportunities throughout the day for children to persevere.  It is in the struggle and challenges of life that perseverance develops.

At Stepping Stone School, we recognize the value of perseverance and encourage growth in this area daily.  Our Platinum Learning for Lifecurriculum is specially designed to provide developmentally appropriate activities for children of all ages. Each child is provided the support and care he needs to become confident and prepared both socially and academically.

To continue to teach perseverance at home, consider applying some of the following strategies:

  1. Resist Rescuing Immediately. Give children the chance to struggle, sometimes an extra moment or two is all they need to be successful in a situation. If needed, adjust the level of difficulty of a task without taking away the challenge completely. Pushing them just a little will pay dividends in the end.
  2. Teach Practical Problem-solving. Before a child becomes frustrated, help him think about another way to solve the problem.  Helping him to learn to stop and think can often reveal a new or different way to reach the same goal.
  3. Try new things. Often when we try something for the first time, we face unforeseen challenges which provides an opportunity to develop perseverance.  Consider nurturing a new hobby with your child.  With the intrinsic motivation of personal interest, she will be more likely to persevere through any challenges to be successful in her chosen hobby.
  4. Practice Positive Sayings. Sometimes, when encountering a new situation, children are quick to give up, stating, “I can’t!”  Help your child change his thinking by practicing statements like, “I can’t, YET!”  If he is becoming frustrated, remind him of past successes and how he overcame challenges before so he can do it again. Often helping him change his negative statements into positive statements will help him to persevere a little longer.
  5. Set Small Goals Together. In early elementary school, children start to understand the concept of setting and reaching goals. Together with your child, write down a goal and then think about the specific steps she will have to take to reach that goal.  Celebrate each reached goal and then set new ones.

Whether it is carving a pumpkin, becoming a better athlete or a better student, perseverance is necessary for success.  Together, we can support children as they develop this important quality.


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Duckworth, A., Peterson, C., Matthews, M., and Kelly, D. (2007, July). Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term GoalsJournal of Personality and Social Psychology. 92(6):1087-101. DOI: 10.1037/0022-3514.92.6.1087

Parents Magazine. (n.d.). How to Teach Kids Perseverance and Goal-Setting. Retrieved from

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Stringer, K. (2018, April 9). What You Never Realized You Were Teaching Your Child About Grit & Resilience: MIT Study Captures Techniques That Work for Babies as Young as 13 Months. Retrieved from

Welde, S. (2015, October 19).How to Teach Kids Perseverance. Retrieved from



Age Groups:

Advanced Pre-K

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