As we continue in our A to Z parenting tips – in this post we are focusing on how to raise children who love hardwork. As parents we should always make sure we ensure that our children are optimizing their God given abilities, we as custodians have a major role to play in making sure they are setup to become all they can be. As parents setting the groundwork comes from encouraging children to work hard in situations or circumstances that may come their way. The ultimate goal is to raise children who understand that there is no secret to success, it takes hardwork.
1. Praise the child’s effort more than the accomplishment.
Some things come naturally to some children, but not to others, so we as parents, guardians, teachers have to be careful about what we praise. While one might have mastered their times table by the time they are in primary 2 another may still be struggling. Praise should be used as motivation for every child to try their best and to be encouraged to work harder at what he/she is doing. Once a child understands that success comes from hard work in all areas, they will not be afraid to stand up and try again until they attain success.
I come to realise that in this part of the world we dwell mostly on praising children who are seen as academically intelligent over those who may have other abilities. We often praise the child who comes first in class examination, while we neglect the child who does well in sports or arts. As we praise those skills and abilities that seen natural to our children it boosts their confidence. Praising children for working hard across all areas will ensure that we do not breed complacency in any one area.
2. Set challenging and attainable tasks with your Child
Help your child to set up goals that they are able to achieve in small measurable steps. Do not let your child get used to running away from anything that seems challenging. If you notice your child has a phobia for a particular thing, set them up in a situation that will help them overcome their fears. Depending on the situation this may include seeking professional help.
For instance if your child dreads Mathematics, you can either employ the services of a tutor to give ‘extra lessons’ (if you happen to be too busy to handle it yourself) or you can find fun ways for your child to get extra help – think YouTube videos. If you children make comments like “its to hard to learn” it is because they are too lazy and unmotivated to try – so challenge them in a way that they can overcome. Then celebrate and praise their achievements. Hard work and determination is key to success.
3. Set a good example
Children learn more from what they see rather than what they are told, so they are watching you their parents the first teachers in their lives. As with any skill or values that you want your child to have, you need to demonstrate and show it in your own life. Do not fall into the trap of leaving everything to the Nanny, House helps, cooks, gatemen, drivers, personal assistants etc. If you raise children who build a high sense of dependency on others doing things for them it will take its toll on them in the future. While many of us were not trained in this way of having someone else do everything for us, somehow parents of today are building a generation of children who are not motivated to do things themselves.
If your children repeatedly see or hear you give up on something because it is too hard, they’ll be more likely to share that attitude. For your own sake and theirs, do something challenging and see it through, something that takes hard work and determination. Let them see your frustration, see how you re-energise, re-strategise and try again: take an extra degree or professional qualification, train for a marathon, loose some weight, learn a new skill, finish a difficult task like repainting, or rearranging a room. it could be for your personal leisure or serious business, but it will definitely leave it mark on your child.
4. Educate your children with examples of people who attained success because of hard work.
Sharing real life examples of people who have beat the odds, who persevered and through hardwork achieved success is a great way to educate your children. Examples such as Grace Alele Williams, who was the first female Vice Chancellor in Nigeria, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, the first lady to drive a car in Nigeria. President Buhari who lost the presidential election race three time before emerging the winner of the last National Elections. On the International scene mention people like Thomas Edison, who failed a thousand times before he discovered the light bulb; Abraham Lincoln, who failed twice at business and lost more elections than he won. Let them learn the principle from early on that lazy people never made history. Even if they fail at their attempt to achieve something, they are in good company as all the World’s greatest minds had their own setbacks.
5. Teach your children resilience through your story
The issue of being a good example poses itself once again in your pursuit to make your child realise the benefits of hard work. Using your our own failures and not hiding them would further educate your child on how you learn from failure, and how you try again. Never feel ashamed to fail in the presence of your child. Show your children how you don’t quit and how you try again. When your children fail, help them turn those feelings into a time to ask questions and get better. Some children are not motivated because they feel they will never measure up to their parents standards, this only serves to demoralise them and leaves them with a sort of ‘I don’t care’ attitude toward challenges. As discussed earlier be sure to praise them for trying their best. Every child is prone to learning by having positive role models.
6. Set up a reward scheme now and then
Sometimes we may need to go out of our way to motivate our children. This could be in the form of an appropriate gift in the long or short run. While this shouldn’t always be engaged in. A child who knows there is a reward for accomplishing a task is more likely to strive to do better in that task. For example a father shared how on every New Year’s day he would sit with his children and hand them goals and tasks for the year, and in turn ask them to make a wish list for Christmas. He explained to me that most years he would get nothing less than 70% of their goals achieved and they would get their rewards at Christmas. This is one example of instilling ‘hardwork is rewarding’. While this may not work for everyone as every home is unique, it is one example of using a reward to motivate.
7. Pray For your children
This among all the points is the most important of all the above mentioned. Prayer will touch situations that physical effort can’t. It would also go a long way to prepare the way for future situations and circumstances your child may be faced with. When your not there physically, prayer would have superseded the situation – A parent can go into the future ahead of your child with prayer. We cannot ignore the Bible that says ” faith without works is dead”. So it doesn’t mean we should just sit, keep praying over a situation that we have made no attempt to step out and take action.