The Batman Effect: How to Teach Children Perseverance

The Batman Effect: How to Teach Children Perseverance
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

When we teach children perseverance, we also teach them the importance of continuous effort. They learn to step up and not settle with what’s easy. Children can acquire this skill by example and also through games such as the famous Batman effect. This is a very simple and stimulating technique that encourages persistence.

We must admit that it’s not easy to convey to a child the mental and emotional strength implied in the act of continuously making an effort in order to achieve a goal. How can we do this? Most of our children have access to digital devices that offer them instant gratification. It’s an easy way for them to escape when they’re angry, bored, or when they need information.

In today’s world, the attention span of many elementary students is decreasing. They also have less patience, a low frustration tolerance, and don’t know how to manage their emotions. It’s not a matter of blaming all of this on new technologies, but on understanding that there are certain priorities when it comes to educating.

“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.”

-Bill Gates-

One of them is training our children to be motivated to succeed. We have to make sure they learn that those who persevere don’t let themselves get carried away by what’s comfortable or easy. This will help them become more capable, happier, and more proactive in the future.

A happy boy.

Perseverance is learned

A study that was carried out a while ago gives us a lot to think about. It showed that the ability of a child to tolerate frustration and face challenges  is not only perceived in their academic achievements,  but also in their self-image and self-esteem.

A lot of parents are obsessed with their children being excellent students, leading them to academic success. In reality, what they should really want is their children to be happy so they become teenagers with enough skills to manage emotional adversities, take responsibility, and fight for what they want.

Let’s see some things we should keep in mind when teaching our children to be perseverant:

  • We should start educating them to be perseverant when they’re 2 or 3 years old. This is the perfect moment for a very simple reason. When they’re that age, they start to be more autonomous. They start to eat by themselves, take out their toys and put them away, tie their shoes, etc.
  • If they want to be skilled in those first day-to-day tasks, they should be responsible, motivated, and able to do them on their own. They should learn not to quit on the first try.
  • In this first life stage, children start building their sense of reality. They begin to form those first representations of what the world is.
  • When children see they should be patient during difficult times and that they need to be motivated and give everything they have to achieve a goal, they start building a more productive and satisfactory reality in their minds.
Perseverance teaches us not to give up on the first try.

What does the Batman effect consist of?

The Batman effect is a technique that helps parents teach their children what perseverance consists of. This technique is recommended for kids between the ages of 2 and 4. These are the guidelines to follow:

  • Every time your child is facing a challenging task such as tying their shoes, doing a puzzle, cleaning their room, eating by themselves, or dressing themselves, invite them to be a character: “You’re Batman now. Batman doesn’t give up when he does something. Just keep trying!”
  • The child needs to face tasks by themselves, without any kind of help. If they give up at any moment, apply a new reinforcement: “How’s the puzzle going, Batman?” Instead of calling the child by their name, call them by a fictional character in order to motivate them so they don’t give up.
An elephant and a kid.

This kind of game encourages children to go beyond their possibilities and try harder. It allows them to develop perseverance and learn that, if they make an effort, they’ll be able to progress. Little by little, they’ll realize they’re their own authentic heroes and that with a lot of effort and motivation, there’s nothing they can’t do.

“Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults.”

-Abraham Lincoln-

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