Help Your Child Learn From Mistakes

Learning to Try and Fail: How You Can Help Your Child Learn From Mistakes

You may have noticed it first when your toddler was learning to sort shapes or take his first steps. Kids get frustrated when they encounter difficulty, and it can be hard to watch them struggle. But kids grow up to be confident and well-adjusted teens and adults when they learn that it’s OK to make mistakes and learn lessons from failure. At daycare each day, or in their preschool classrooms, kids learn new things, encounter challenges, and often get frustrated. Your childcare providers are excellent at defusing frustration and helping kids to learn from their mistakes. Our tips can help you to nurture your kids when they struggle at home.

  1. Approach mistakes with empathy. While it may not seem like the end of the world when your little gymnast can’t master a cartwheel, remember not to minimize her feelings. Let her know that you understand why she is upset, instead of waving away her feelings of frustration.
  2. Talk about your own experiences. We all have experienced failure in our lives, and many of us have learned from those experiences. Relay your past experience to your frustrated child, and he’ll see that even the grown-ups who he admires are capable of both failure and, ultimately, success and happiness.
  3. Teach resilience. How do we teach resilience? When your child makes a mistake, reassure her that it’s OK, and ask her what she would do differently next time. Point out to her that this mistake allowed her to learn and encourage her to try again. That’s resilience.
  4. Remember that there are always second chances. Particularly for young children, opportunities for a second chance should always be offered. This will truly allow your child to learn from his mistakes, and will show him that he is capable of failing and then succeeding in the end.
  5. Let mistakes happen. When your child was learning to walk, you likely had to watch her tumble over and over again. Remember that you’ll need to allow your young child to step up to bat, sometimes literally, even when you know she might not succeed. Allowing your child to make a mistake is important for your relationship, and for her growth.

When have you watched your child experience frustration and failure? Were you able to watch him pick himself up and try again? Let us know about your experience in the comments section.

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