5 Steps to Raising Gritty Kids

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The dictionary defines grit as “courage and determination despite difficulty”. Angela Ducksworth defines it as sustaining passion and perseverance for long-term goals.

In her popular 2013 TED talk, Angela Duckworth says, “One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks or physical health, and it wasn’t IQ. It was grit.”

Some psychologists argue that grit is the same as the Big Five Personality trait ‘conscientiousness” and that the correlation between success and grit is not as strong as Duckworth claims. However, there is something to be said about sticking with something despite the short-term discomfort your might experience, especially if it impacts the long-term results you want to achieve.

Five Ways to encourage grit in our children


Set goals and teach them what a growth mindset is:

Make sure the goals are SMART and remind them that setbacks and failures are opportunities for learning and growth, rather than reasons for giving up. Foster a growth mindset by emphasizing effort, persistence, and the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. Often it helps that these small goals be centred around something the child is interested in- eg a charity, a sport, an instrument or reading.

Foster a supportive and nurturing environment:

Create and make space for risk taking and self-led interests. This might mean teaching them how to use the oven and a kitchen knife or letting them climb to the top of a tree. Encourage open communication, provide constructive feedback, and offer support when they are stuck and frustrated. Avoid phrases like “I told you so.” and encourage your child to get curious about mistakes along the way.

Explore more about gentle discipline and mindful parenting in the journal “Mindful Parenting: Gentle Discipline Part One“. This article delves deeper into the topic, offering valuable insights and practical advice. You can find it here.

Teach self-regulation and resilience

Help children develop self-regulation skills, such as managing emotions, delaying gratification, and staying focused on tasks. Having a set routine helps with delayed gratification (eg. Ice cream only in the summer or movies only on Fridays). Acknowledge feelings and let them be and then model self-regulation techniques such as deep breathing, positive self-talk, and problem-solving. Encourage them to view challenges as opportunities for growth rather than insurmountable obstacles.

Lead by example

Model grit by demonstrating perseverance, resilience, and a positive attitude toward challenges. Share stories of individuals who have overcome adversity and achieved success through hard work and determination. Highlight the importance of persistence and effort in accomplishing meaningful goals. You could even set goals together such as running a race or reading a certain number of pages each night.


Meagan Wilson is a parent educator and author of the now-retired seasonal series of Whole Family Rhythms. After finishing a BA, she went on to complete her Foundations in Steiner Education and Anthroposophy at Sydney Steiner College, as well as her Waldorf Early Childhood Certification at the Rudolf Steiner Centre in Toronto. She has received her certification as a Simplicity Parenting Family Life Coach and has supported hundreds of parents to create a strong family rhythm unique to their own values and culture. She has four young children. Meagan provides resources, support and information to parents who are looking for a bridge to cross between their unique family life and their children’s (often but not always) Waldorf schools.

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