Effort is a value that we must instill in our children since they are little, because none of us are born with the capacity for effort, work or sacrifice . Overprotecting them and giving them everything they ask for to avoid problems or suffering will make them grow up thinking that things are easily achieved and without the need to make an effort. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The capacity for effort and sacrifice must be developed day by day, turning behaviors into habits and always trying to improve a little more. Parents can help our children to understand the value of effort , not only by setting an example with our actions, but also by putting into practice a series of keys that we present to you below.
1) Find a motivation
The first thing we have to ensure is that the child sees and understands the reasons why it is worth making an effort , since if there is no clear reason it will be more difficult for him to carry out work based on effort.
- There are intrinsic reasons, which are those that encourage us to do something for the pleasure and interest of doing it. For example, studying to expand knowledge, to satisfy our curiosity, to improve ourselves, to enjoy what we have learned…
- And there are also extrinsic reasons, which are those that refer to the reward we will get for carrying out a certain task(although it does not necessarily have to be a material reward)
When it comes to striving to achieve something, very young children tend to move more for extrinsic reasons , but it is important that parents instill the value of doing things by vocation , fostering their self- esteem , responsibility and showing our pride in the work done.
2) Set realistic goals
Motivation is very good and is necessary when reaching a goal, but it is important that it be realistic and not demand things from the child that are beyond their possibilities , since the only thing we will achieve in that case is frustration.
We can motivate them to set themselves goals of any kind and encourage them to fight to achieve them. Because if they feel committed to it and see themselves capable of dealing with it, it will be much easier for them to make an effort to achieve results.
In addition, parents must remain by their side , firm and respectful at the same time. Because a fair and positive demand will in turn generate greater involvement and effort, while a high level of demand and fear of possible negative consequences will surely have the opposite effect.
Over time this external demand will end up becoming self-demanding and they will no longer need anyone to encourage them to always try a little harder , which will make them feel more self-confident, capable and independent.
3) Value perseverance and work
When carrying out a task that requires effort, it is important that children are involved in it from start to finish , and that they understand that every activity requires planning, work and perseverance.
Thus, and in line with the previous point, we can propose small challenges or activities to the child that, in addition to being easy to achieve, involve perseverance and prolonged effort over time , such as making a collection of stickers.
Our son must understand that he will complete the collection if he gets involved to get the cards: keeping an updated list of those that are missing, moving to try to exchange the repeated ones with other friends, being responsible for taking care of the material…
4) Do not do things for them
On the other hand, it is important that our children know that we are by their side to help them when they need it , but without doing the work for them or paving the way for them to avoid difficulties.
No one is born knowing and children need a guide to accompany them during their learning, to motivate them and help them when needed. But we cannot (nor should we) do things for them.
We have to start giving them age-appropriate responsibilities that require them to make an effort (for example, setting the table, picking up the toys, tidying their room…). This will strengthen their self-confidence and confidence , and will foster their independence and self- esteem .
But in addition to our role as guides, we must encourage critical thinking in our children and making their own decisions. In this way they will grow strong and confident , and sooner than we imagine they will be able to do things on their own.
5) Do not give up in the face of adversity
In most cases, things are not easily achieved : you have to fight for them, make an effort and not give up in the face of adversity. In this sense, failure should never be an impediment to abandoning the task, much less the fear of failing.
Perhaps in our eagerness to prevent our children from suffering , we can make the mistake of overprotecting them or paving the way for them so that they do not run into difficulties. But doing this not only does not benefit them, but it can harm them in the future since they will grow up believing that things in life are easy to achieve.
For this reason, what we parents must do when our children face obstacles is to teach them to fight to overcome them, not to give up before them and to learn that suffering and frustration are part of life . Correctly managing these feelings will make them grow and mature emotionally, and face adversity with decision and will.