How to Teach Children to Overcome Challenges

Teaching a child to overcome challenges doesn't imply putting pressure on them but, rather, giving them the tools to achieve their autonomy.
How to Teach Children to Overcome Challenges

Last update: 03 October, 2021

As a mom, you’re probably wondering how to teach your children to overcome challenges of daily life, especially when you notice that they get frustrated, cry, or get upset in the face of difficulties.

So, what should you do in these cases? Here are some activities that will help you educate your child on this topic and make them feel happier while learning.

Teaching kids to overcome challenges: Daily life decisions and self-esteem

Every day, we’re used to making decisions to carry out our activities. Have you ever wondered what happens to children when they’re unable to make their own decisions regarding the activities they do or don’t want to carry out? Most likely, they’ll become frustrated and, in the long run, their self-esteem will deteriorate.

For this reason, it’s key to promote this aspect, and a good way to do it is to show your children that they’re capable of choosing for themselves and achieving what they set out to do. It’s best to start with small and age appropriate choices, such as the ones we suggest below:

  • From 2 to 3 years old, you can give little ones the choice of which toy they want to play with.
  • If they’re 4 or 5 years old, you can allow them to choose when clothes they want to wear or what food they want to eat.

The most important thing in this exercise is that you ask them to explain why they make the choices they do and reinforce their opinion . By feeling that you value their will and respect them, their self-esteem is will also grow stronger.

According to the Royal Spanish Academy, self-esteem is the value that one has of himself. Therefore, if the child is confident in their abilities, they’re better prepared to overcome the challenges of everyday life .

I can: Confidence and autonomy

A father and mother preparing food with their son.

When your child says “I can” you should trust them in order to promote the development of self-confidence . Knowing that you can do things on your own helps you become more autonomous every day.

You can suggest simple actions, such as setting the silverware on the table at lunchtime or helping to prepare a salad, depending on the age. Also, you can take advantage of bath time to ask them to do a task that shows them that they’re already capable of doing things alone or with minimal supervision.

These small decisions build children’s great wills and boost their confidence. So, they progress in their autonomy and acquire new tools to overcome challenges.

This is the way I am: These are my virtues

As soon as you allow your child to demonstrate their talents and virtues, they’ll be able to recognize them too. For this reason, involve them in important matters in their life, such as decorating their room, choosing how to greet their family, or deciding which story to read before bed.

Through these actions, you’ll also be able to recognize their style, their favorite colors or characters, and the way in which they want to relate to others.

It’s also important to tell your child that you love him as they are, with all their talents and virtues. And these things don’t them any better or worse than anyone else, but they do make them unique and special.

Feeling loved just the way they are will help them better manage their emotions and get to know themselves, which is a key factor in being able to overcome challenges.

Dopamine, the motivational neurotransmitter

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s released in the brain when you feel pleasure and, therefore, is involved in motivation. At the same time, it increases the feeling of well-being and encourages learning.

When we adults encourage children to live experiences marked by novelty or pleasure, we cause their brains to release this substance and motivate them to go for more.

If we present the responsibilities of daily life through play, we capture the child’s attention much better and awaken their desire to participate. In addition, we make this new learning more meaningful for them, and their brain registers it along with pleasant emotions.

So, we also collaborate with the development of the child’s emotional and social brain so that they become aware of their actions from a young age. This will help them to control their own behavior, that is, to achieve self-regulation .

Young children playing with tangrams.

Overcoming challenges in childhood

With these suggestions, you can start to teach your child to overcome challenges on their own.

Any person, no matter how small, who is self-confident and has sufficient self-esteem and autonomy, will be ready to face adversity.

If the child reaches their goals, they’ll be happy. But if they don’t, they won’t be affected, and they’ll be satisfied that they tried. And they’ll probably try harder next time!

When a person’s able to know themself, they can improve or enhance their abilities as well as resolve the conflicts that arise.

Trust your children and promote experiences to teach them to overcome challenges.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Hogg, T. El secreto de educar niños felices y seguros. Bogotá: Norma. Año 2005. p.280.
  • Laporte, D. Autoimagen, autoestima y socialización. Guía práctica con niños de 0 a 6 años. Madrid: Narcea Ediciones. Año 2006. p. 144.
  • Papazian, O; Alfonso, I; Luzondo, R. Trastornos de las funciones ejecutivas. Revista de Neurología, 2006. 42 (3), 45-50

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.