Taylor Tepper wrote an article on “Why You’re Better Off With a Hardworking Child Than a Smart One
.” In the article he says, “The Brookings Institute recently came out with a report that summarizes the research into the debate of character versus intelligence. Therein lay a panoply of statistics that illuminate importance of grit and drive…For instance, high school grade point average is a better predictor of whether a student will complete college in six years than SAT/ACT scores. Grade point averages are all about grit: you have to come to class every day, turn in your homework, and perform well on tests and papers in order to earn a high grade. A standardized exam, like the SAT, mostly measures your cognitive abilities…I asked Jessica Lahey, a teacher who writes a biweekly parenting column for the New York Times, for her perspective. She said the research jibes with her experience. “Kids who are raised by parents with good impulse control—the ability to plan for long-term goals and stick to those goals—are more successful than kids raised by parents who model impulsive, disorganized, chaotic thinking and actions,' she says.” This article really put into perspective a new parenting strategy for me. Of course I want my child to be brilliant…but what is she going to do with that “brilliance” if I haven’t taught her how to work hard. I’ve found 5 important ways to help my young kids learn to work hard.
1. Delay Gratification.
I personally believe that delayed gratification is SO important for kids to learn. We live in a society of “I want it right now." Even my toddler thinks she should get things “right now” JUST BECAUSE SHE ASKED FOR IT. For example, if she asks for a treat and I say no, she freaks out
. So, I let her know that she can "earn" a treat. Which helps her learn PATIENCE, SELF-CONTROL & WILLPOWER. She knows that she can "earn" a treat for good behavior, which also teaches her SELF-REGULATION. I believe delayed gratification is extremely powerful for ALL OF US to learn.
2.Work for Things.
Teaching kids to save up for something they want not only teaches them to work hard, but also saves us parents money and clutter around the house! How many times have we bought a toy because our kids just wanted it, only to be used as something to trip on?? But if they worked for it, chances are it’s something they really want. Plus, if they spend their OWN MONEY on that item it will most likely be played with and taken care of. Double win. Working for their wants also teaches children how to manage money - because as adults we all learned pretty fast that money doesn't grow on trees. How much more valuable would that lesson have been had we learned that as children?
3. Serving Others.
Take the time to teach your children how to serve others - and have fun with it! One idea that's always a winner: make cookies with your kids and drop them off to people. Remember to explain to your children why you are doing it and how it is going to help that person. It doesn't do much good if your child does not understand that reason behind the behavior. Plus, making cookies is a WIN-WIN...they get "rewarded" for being kind and learn how to bake!
4. Age Appropriate Chores.
TheHappyHouseWife.com has a perfect “age appropriate chore list”. You can find it here
. My sister calls her kids chores lists “Responsibilities." Each of her kids have a “Responsibilities List” that they check when they get home from school. I love that she calls it “Responsibilities” instead of chores. It teaches them to love and care for their home and that each family member is responsible to help keep the house up - not just mommy & daddy!
5. Be Consistent.
We all know kids will push and push and push some more. It is so important to be consistent & stand your ground. If you give them an inch they will take a foot - or at least I did when I was young! Consistency is KEY! I believe that if you put into practice all of these points your kids will be hard workers and that they will be able to go so far in life! Smarts do not matter if you don't know how to put them into practice.