Teaching Your Child about Perseverance
“I always tell my kids if you lay down, people will step over you. But if you keep scrambling, if you keep going, someone will always, always give you a hand. Always. But you gotta keep dancing, you gotta keep your feet moving.” -- Morgan Freeman
Teaching your child how to persevere at a task is one of the most important life lessons they will learn. While the choice for after school activities is endless, helping your child find the right activity and sticking with that choice is critical in your child’s development into a happy, fulfilled and productive adult. Some activities, such as a play or cooking class, have a finite end from the onset, while activities like ballet; require a long term commitment for children to receive the benefit of consistent training.
- Making a Commitment - When your child chooses to take ballet, talk with them about the benefits of choosing to take classes for a longer period of time. For example, tell your child that they will need to commit to classes for one year but that since classes are only one hour long, four days per week they will still have plenty of time for family activities and playing with friends. It is important for your new ballerina to understand that while ballet is one of their top priorities, that they will still have time for other important activities.
- Goal Setting - Help your child set goals of learning a new skill or a full dance by writing it down. You can have your child make a small sign to tape onto their bedroom mirror listing the skill they want to master and the date when they want to achieve their goal. Seeing the goal in writing will help keep your child motivated to persevere.
- Visualizing and Self-Motivation - Many professional athletes use visualizing to help themselves persevere through difficult times and to achieve their goals. For example, if your child is struggling to perform a perfect pirouette, teach them to sit comfortably, close their eyes, and picture themselves performing a flawless pirouette in dance class or a performance. Training their minds is as important as training their bodies.
- Be a Role Model - One of the best ways to help your child learn perseverance is to be a role model. When your child sets a goal for dance, you can pick a similar goal for yourself such as enrolling in an adult ballet class and learning a routine, running your first 5K or writing a novel. Share your struggles and your achievements with your child so they see the benefits of sticking with an activity.
- Celebrate Achievements - When your child reaches their goal or sticks with a ballet class for a certain length of time, celebrate their achievements. You can create a reward certificate or make a sticker to put on their goal sign. Keep track of all of the goals that they meet and over time, your child will see that making a commitment and persevering is a tremendous reward.