gleam in her eye when she first rode a bike? That self-esteem came from knowing she had mastered something hard.
That same feeling can also help her do better in school. We know that students will do better in school if they feel confident about themselves.
One of the best ways to instill this “can-do” attitude in your child is to stress the importance of effort. Tell your child over and over, “If you keep at it, I’m sure you can succeed.” Then when he is successful, be sure to say, “You see? Hard work paid off.”
Kids usually understand the importance of hard work on the athletic field. But they don’t always make the connection to their schoolwork. Many believe that only smart children will do well in school. “I’m not smart,” they think, “so I might as well take it easy.”
On the other hand, students in Asia are told that hard work is the key to success. They are willing to put in the work to understand something difficult. If they don’t get something right away, they keep at it. The result is that Asian children often outscore other children on tests in math and reading—regardless of intelligence.
Help your child master a new school skill the same way you taught her to walk. Stand close by and encourage her efforts. But don’t be afraid to let her fall down a time or two. Pretty soon, she’ll have a tough subject under control. And that will help her develop real and lasting self-esteem.
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