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By Leslie Crawford
Children who have a passion learn the pleasure of practicing and improving at something they love, says Borba. Support your children’s interests. Help them check out books at the library on subjects they love. Not only are they learning firsthand the value of mastering something through effort, they may also be preparing for their adult vocation.
Do your kids seem to blow up at a certain time of day? Often, says Borba, children this age get frustrated and give up at a task simply because they are tired, hungry, or just need some time to unwind. So make sure your children are well fed, get enough sleep, and have a chance to play before facing the task at hand. By explaining that they’re strengthening their minds and bodies, young kids will learn to fortify themselves before turning to a challenge.
Remember: Young kids often blow up when they can’t get something right. Avoid recrimination (“I told you this would be hard”) or reacting with your own, sometimes justifiable, anger (“Don’t yell at me just because you can’t do the puzzle!”). If you lose your cool, walk away for a moment. Also, suggest your children take a break — running around the house to “get the angries out” — then return after calming down.
“I’ll never be able to do it!” Chances are you’ve heard your children utter this mournful cry of defeat. At times like these, make kids the hero of a story. Remind them of the triumphal times they had trouble doing well at something but kept their eyes on the goal and succeeded. “Remember when you were scared of starting preschool, but went anyway and ended up loving it and making good friends?” This kind of pep talk is often just what kids need to try, try again. And when your children hang in there, point it out. “You kept writing those numbers even though it was hard. You should be really proud.”
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