We love this idea from play therapist Paris Goodyear-Brown. If you have a child who has a hard time pushing through when something is difficult, have her make a set of cope-cakes. These are individualized self-help strategies that she can rely on next time she is faced with an obstacle.
When the child is in a calm state, ask her to think of some ways that she can help herself next time she feels frustrated. Really encourage her to think of ideas on her own – she’s much more likely to try them if she thought of them herself. With each suggestion, ask, “Is it good for you? Is it good for others? Is it easy to do? Does it make you feel better?” If the answer to each of these questions is yes, have her write the strategy on the inside of a cupcake wrapper. She can arrange her wrappers onto a piece of paper like a set of cupcakes. Next time she is frustrated by an obstacle, remind her about her “cope-cakes” and allow her to choose a strategy. Make sure you follow up to see if it helped her overcome her frustration.