Helping Kids Feel Successful

Just came across this bit of research today. It was in Kathy Nunley’s enews from

In order to increase both creativity and productivity in any work or task, the worker must feel they are making progress in meaningful work. Students who experience small wins more frequently, who have autonomy with clear meaningful goals, and who work in an environment without punishment, make the most progress. The least progress is made when a student feels the work is useless, meaningless and they are not sure why they are doing it. Amabile, T. (2012). “Creativity, Productivity and Commitment: Revelations From the Work Diaries.” Presentation given August 3, 2012, American Psychological Association Annual Conference, Orlando, FL.

I believe this can apply across all age groups including preschool age children. When a child experiences small wins in what they are doing and they survive in environments that are not punitive but nourishing they will make the most progress or have the most success.  Whether that be in playing, studying or getting along with peers.

Children need to feel independent. They need worthwhile goals even if it is committing to making their bed or helping a friend put the blocks away. Like the tip above says, the least progress is made when a child feels useless, meaningless and they aren’t sure why they are doing something.

This might lend itself to the child of divorce who is shifted from place to place. Many times they feel useless, life has no meaning and confusion reigns.

Give the child of divorce meaning. Help them set viable goals and give them the means to obtain their goals. Encourage them in their progress by describing their success.

Help them feel wanted. Give them a sense of independence, not put upon as many kids of divorce who have to care for younger siblings feel. Help them to understand they are part of a family unit whether it is at home, church or school.