Resilience & Grit in Preschool: How to Challenge Yourself and Be the Best You Can Be

“There are two things a person should never be angry at: what they can help and what they can not.” Plato knew the deal. This wisdom has existed for centuries! Let’s pass it on to our students so they have the work ethic and mindset to create their own futures! So how do we teach kids to stick with a problem, work hard, and persevere in the face of challenges, especially in a world so reliant on immediate gratification? How do you convince kids that the uncomfortable stages of growth are totally worth sticking through in order to get that feeling of accomplishing your dreams?

Should you expect your students to trust your word that “hard work pays off?” Or can we show, rather than tell?

A popular meme in the self-help community is “Comfort vs. Growth” and it’s probably an important concept to pass on to the future leaders of the world. It’s hard to be growing as a person in your endeavors and in your personal life if you are always in a comfortable position. Growth is about challenging yourself to be the best you can be! Growth means taking yourself to your limits and then past them! And you can’t grow if you don’t push yourself.

That’s a nice pep-talk, but it’s still talk. How can we show students that growth is worth the time, effort, and discomfort? How can we help kids make that instant connection, so they buy-in right away to put in the work on the long haul? We get into all the examples on this week’s episode, but in particular, we discuss some especially fun ways to teach resilience and grit by doing exercise and yoga with your classroom!

When teaching exercise, go ahead and exercise with your students! But make sure to show kids how exercise only works if you challenge yourself! Pick up two markers or pencils or anything around the classroom that doesn’t weigh too much. Then, begin bench pressing them with all your might like you are lifting 300 lb. weights! There’s no way you will grow your muscles lifting these little tiny markers! You need to challenge yourself! Plus, you look silly lifting these markers. Your students will see it right away. It’s clear as can be! When you don’t challenge yourself, you look silly and it is obvious to everyone else!

This is a great visual and physical representation of how hard work and taking on challenges pays off! You can also teach Yoga and flexibility to help students “feel the burn!” They know exaclty when their muscles are stretching because that’s when it starts to get a little uncomfortable! But just like exercise, it’s not a bad discomfort — it’s your body telling you that you’re growing! It feels great to push yourself and grow and feel your muscles opening up! The longer you do Yoga with the class, the more results you will see!

For even more examples, including how to use Meditation to the same goal, listen to the full episode here!

If kids can see and feel results of their hard work, they will totally buy in to the “hard work pays off” mindset. From there, the rest of your year is driven by this incredible self-directed learning.  Show students (don’t just tell them) the results of their effort and work ethic.

At the end of each day as kids were walking out the door, instead of giving a high-five or an exit-test, I would touch each student’s head and say, “Whoa! That’s a big brain!” Each day, they felt like their brains actually grew in size! They came to school and worked and hard and as a result of that day of hard work, their brains got physically bigger and they were reminded each day!

“Energy and persistence conquer all things.” Make this super clear to your classroom and the results will unbelievable! To build this mindset into your class culture, check our freebie – 10 Cultural Callbacks!

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Thank you so much for joining us this week! Was there anything I missed in this episode that you’d like to hear more about? Would you mind sharing in the comments so all the great teachers can learn from your thoughts? Thank you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the bottom of the post. Also, please leave an honest review for the Punk Rock Preschool Podcast on iTunes. Ratings and reviews are super helpful and greatly appreciated and I will read all of them!  If you have any questions or want to learn more, head on over to! And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates!



  • 00:53 – Introduction
  • 03:42  – Mindset Shift
  • 04:41 – Strategies
  • 14:16 – Actionable Next Steps
  • 15:05 – Major Takeaways

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