Grit can be defined as resilience, mental strength, or determination. It is the ability that enables individuals to persevere, bounce back from failures, and meet life’s challenges head-on. Grit is integral to successful outcomes in life, not only academically but also in personal and professional pursuits. Hence, it is important to instil this quality in students. This blog provides ten tips on how to build grit in students.
1) Encourage goal setting
Research suggests that grit is defined as passion and perseverance for long-term goals. This quality can be developed in children by teaching them the value of goal setting.
Goal setting inspires children to strive, persevere, and achieve despite challenges and goals provide a roadmap and keep students focused during periods of difficulties or disappointments.
Children should be encouraged to set realistic and achievable short-term goals, which will, in turn, enhance their confidence and self-esteem once these goals are attained. For instance, completing homework on time each day (short-term goal) can result in good grades (long-term goal).
2) Build a growth mindset
Fostering a growth mindset helps children build grit. Firstly, it is important to acknowledge effort over accomplishment.
Children who are praised for their effort may strive to tackle challenges and view failures as stepping stones to success. It, therefore, cultivates resilience and encourages them to persevere in their pursuit of goals.
Secondly, it is beneficial to encourage perseverance by modelling grit. Children tend to mirror adult behaviours, thus parents, educators, and mentors who exhibit grit may inspire them to develop the same trait. Learning to embrace challenges, showing dedication to tasks, and demonstrating resilience can exert a significant influence on a child’s growth mindset.
Lastly, embracing a learning-oriented environment can further support this learning in kids. Providing children with opportunities to solve problems, make choices, and learn from their mistakes fosters a growth mindset that can enhance their determination and fuel their passion for learning.
By instilling a belief that intelligence and talent can be developed, appreciating the effort, promoting perseverance, and celebrating learning, we can nurture grit in future generations.
3) Teach resilience
Include activities and programs that teach students how to bounce back from failures. This equips them with the necessary resilience, an integral part of grit.
Presenting children with manageable challenges helps to cultivate grit. By exposing them gradually to tasks that require time and persistence, it promotes an attitude of persevering in the face of difficulties. This process often involves encouraging children to break larger problems into smaller, more manageable ones. As they successfully overcome these miniature hurdles, their confidence strengthens, reinforcing their grit.
Modelling resilience and grit is a powerful way to instil these characteristics in children. Children are often said to learn more from what they observe than from what they are told. Therefore, displaying a healthy, balanced response to stressful situations or events can serve as a strong lesson in resilience to them.
Conversations around failure have the potential to foster both resilience and grit. Highlighting that failure is a part of life and can lead to growth is essential—praising the effort rather than just the success encourages perseverance and the ability to bounce back from defeat.
4) Encourage risk-taking
Encourage students to take calculated risks and step out of their comfort zones. It pushes their boundaries, enhances their capacity to cope with failure, and fosters grit.
Taking risks helps children to confront their fears, pushing them towards personal growth. Teaching them to handle situations independently, helps children take risks, and develop resilience, instilling them with the capability to bounce back from failures.
To promote healthy risk-taking, parents and caregivers should gradually expose children to challenging situations, offering guidance and safeguarding them from severe consequences. It is important to maintain balance, striking a perfect equilibrium between overprotection and neglectful freedom.
5) Show the value of persistence
Teach the value of persistence. Allow students to understand that success often comes to those who persist despite obstacles. This fosters a never-give-up attitude, enhancing grit.
Parents and teachers can foster persistence through encouraging effort, rather than innate talent. They can also model resilience and persistence themselves, instilling in children the belief that abilities can be developed.
According to Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, “We’ve got to make failure ok”. Efforts to normalise setbacks can also cultivate grit by teaching kids that each failure brings them closer to success.
6) Develop a Culture of Effort
A culture that emphasises effort rather than innate intelligence can build grit. This promotes the idea that continuous effort can lead to progress and rewards.
Rather than praising innate abilities, encouraging effort and perseverance can instil resilience, tenacity and grit in children. This approach aligns with the ‘growth mindset’ theory that emphasises the power of persistence over natural talent.
Being in an environment that recognizes and celebrates continued effort can equip children with the ability to overcome obstacles and strive for progress regardless of initial success.
7) Role Model Grit
Children learn by observation and hence teachers and parents need to demonstrate grit through their actions. Be it their reaction to failures and setbacks or consistently fulfilling responsibilities despite difficulties. Be it showing determination and drive in completing personal and professional projects, or demonstrating resilience in the face of adversity. As children observe their parents’ persistent effort and commitment, they internalise the observations, cultivating their grit.
By showing children that setbacks are a normal part of life and that success comes from perseverance, they learn to associate grit with positive outcomes.
8) Encourage incremental changes
By emphasising the significance of incremental changes, we can instil resilience and grit in children. As they constantly push their boundaries, it enhances their tolerance for difficulty, enhancing their grit.
The slow and steady transformation develops their abilities to face challenges and overcome obstacles. Kids learn that even minimal progress is substantial for their development.
Thus, they are more willing to endure hardships, knowing that each hurdle brings them closer to their goals. This learning forms a character that persists in the face of adversity, an attribute that becomes essential as they grow up to face life’s complexities.
9) Foster a Sense of Purpose
Students more readily embrace hardship when they possess a strong sense of purpose. Assisting students in finding their passion instils the stubborn tenacity termed grit.
Encounters with disappointments when framed positively can lead to building grit and resilience. By encouraging the pursuit of passions, nurturing talents and showing appreciation towards their accomplishments parents and teachers can help in refining a child’s passion and purpose.
Setting achievable goals, and imparting life values further helps them identify and stay on their path of purpose-driven grit.
10) Nurture Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence includes the capability to manage and use emotions effectively – this contributes significantly to an individual’s grit. Teaching students emotional intelligence helps them identify and regulate their own as well as others’ emotions. This builds the ability to handle disappointments and persist despite adversities.
Also Read: Emotional Safety: Meaning, Types, Examples
EuroSchool‘s approach to education emphasizes not only academic excellence but also character-building and life skills education. By promoting traits like perseverance, passion, and a growth mindset, EuroSchool equips students with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing world. Our forward-thinking approach creates a promising environment where young learners can cultivate the tenacity and grit necessary for lifelong success.