Five Tips For Teaching Children The Value Of Hard Work And Determination

The definition of determination:

  • Determination is never giving up, no matter what!  A determined person decides to do something, and then does it!

This term our whole school target is determination. Experts now say that teaching children the value of hard work and determination is more important than building self-esteem, and the skills of perseverance are essential to a child’s social emotional development.

In a world in which we are used to having everything instantly at the touch of our fingers and people become celebrities overnight, 21st century children are becoming increasingly alien to the concept of waiting, working hard and having long-lasting determination. Even as adults, we’ve all had that moment that if Google doesn’t give you the answer in 2 seconds flat, we move on.  So how can we instill hard work and determination into our children?

Here we look at five tips to encourage children to stay on track and show them that hard work pays off. 

  1. Praise the effort more than the accomplishment.

Some things often come naturally to some children while for others, it takes hard work and time. Try to praise the things that come naturally less often and focus on when your child has really put in the work. If you praise something that comes with ease, your child will tend see that is enough and praise comes without trying. There are plenty of very successful business people who did not get there by being the best or having the greatest knowledge – it was just hard work. Look at J.K Rowling – she sent her Harry Potter manuscript off 12 times before it got published. Where would she, and us, be if she gave up at the 1st, 5th or even the 11th try?!

  1. Put kids in difficult but doable situations, and don’t help them too much.

This may initially feel uncomfortable when, as parents, it’s our natural instinct to protect your child. However by allowing them to feel frustration, it allows them in turn to learn how to work through a situation, take breaks and try again. By stepping in too soon, you are not allowing your child to have that moment when they think, “I’ve finally done it!” You are actually limiting their successes.

Sport and music are great for giving children the opportunity to try new things and with practice they will start to see results. There are plenty of opportunities for children to learn a new instrument here at school.

  1. Be a role model

Set yourself your own challenge and let your children see you struggle for a goal, whether that be fitness, to read more or learn a new language or skill. For your children to see you struggle and overcome difficulties can be invaluable.

  1. Read and tell stories of people who worked very hard to acquire skills and accomplish great feats.

Read with your children about people who have overcome difficulties to achieve greatness. Let them be their inspiration. Here are just a few…

  • Bill Gates' first business failed

  • Albert Einstein didn't speak until he was four years old

  • Jim Carey used to be homeless

  • Richard Branson has dyslexia and struggled at school

  • Van Gogh only sold one painting in his lifetime

  • Steven Spielberg didn’t get into his film school of choice University of South California. Years later they awarded him an honorary degree!


  • Teach children to recover and grow from failure.

Again, model your own failures (no, don’t hide them) and show them how you learn from failure, how you tried again, even little things, like plumbing disasters and cooking mistakes you’ve made.  Show your children how you don’t quit; how you try again. When your children fail, help them turn those feelings into a time to ask questions and get better.

Books to read with your children: Click on the titles to take you through to

Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft.

In his bestselling "An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth," Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories, his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.


Michael Bortolotto’s moving tale of learning to overcome the challenges of riding his tricycle as a toddler is not a book for children alone. Rather it is an insight into parenting, teaching, coaching, and any other life experience where we are called upon to raise children. Within this book is a lesson for the classroom, the hockey rink, the football field, homework time, the dinner table and all the places where we observe our children’s exploration for growth, places where as vicarious adults, our needs for control, feelings of success through our children’s experience, and own self-worth can flourish unchecked.

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