Has your child ever taken a long time to tie their shoes or struggled to read a story out loud? And if so, did you quickly swoop in to help? Research shows that when parents show patience with their children’s inabilities, the children are actually more likely to be patient with themselves. Parents can also encourage kids to work through challenges by celebrating their efforts and pointing out when hard work brings about good results. This week’s 10-minute activity provides an excellent opportunity for your child to practice working through a challenge and for you to practice supporting them in a way that’s most beneficial to them. All you need is a few pieces of paper, tape, and a bean bag!
Tell your child that you’re going to play a game, and have them stand in one spot while you tape the pieces of paper to the floor, with some closer to your child and some farther away. Then challenge your child to toss the bean bag so it lands on a piece of paper. If your child misses, encourage them to try again. If necessary, move the pieces closer or use bigger pieces of paper and start the game over. If your child makes it, encourage them to aim for a piece of paper that is farther away. As your child gets better at the game, make the locations and sizes of the papers more challenging.
No matter how accurately your child throws, remember to celebrate their efforts as they play. You can say things like:
- “I like the effort you’re putting into this game. Now let’s figure out how you can throw the bean bag so it lands on that piece of paper.”
- “All right, that piece of paper was easy for you! Let’s try something a little more challenging.”
- “I like the way you tried all kinds of strategies until you finally got it.”
- “It was a difficult target to reach, but you stuck to it and kept trying. That really worked!”
Research shows that kids who are willing and able to work through challenges tend to tackle more difficult activities overall and persevere longer than those who are unwilling or unable to do so—setting them up for a lifetime of learning!
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