5 things to help children learn from mistakes

By developing your child’s ability to keep trying and learn from mistakes they will be more resilient. These five things will support your help them bounce back when they make a mistake or disappointment happens.

1. Help your child see the good

Our brain has a negativity bias and as a result kids will focus on what went wrong or the mistake. Help your child to challenge their thoughts that the mistake is the end of the world or a catastrophe. This can be as easy as asking questions to get them to put the mistake into perspective.

2. Praise their efforts rather than the result

Assist your child to reflect on what they did to achieve a good result or do something well. That may sound like “You really thought about how that you were going to do that.” You could also ask them to reflect, “What did you do to get that mark?”

Avoid saying “You are so smart” and instead identify the behaviour or their qualities that contributed to the result. That may sound like, “I am really proud of all the questions and study you did to get that mark.”

3. Reflect on their learning journey

It can be helpful to remind them of how practice and trying helped them learn something in the past. Perhaps it was the time they learnt their times tables or when they learnt to ride a bike. Remind them of what they did that helped them learn. When kids have an experience of how they overcome challenges they are more likely to keep trying.

Funnily, he was doing something the other day – I cant remember what it was – and he said, “You know, the more I do this the easier it gets.” I nearly cried!” I said “Yes, as Fiona says, “Practice makes progress”.

4. Share your mistakes

You may want to share something that you have recently learnt that you found difficult. We tend to set high expectations as a motivator to achieve. So many people fear lowering their standards in case they don’t achieve their goals. I have found that kids are inspired when they realise that even their parents have challenges and make mistakes.

5: Be careful not to label

In the same way that our emotions affects our attitude and what we do, so do labels. We can become the labels we are given. Instead of saying “he is a perfectionist” reflect on what your child’s learning need is. Perhaps it is “She needs to accept that she is learning.”

Maybe your child needs to learn coping skills and helpful self talk to deal with mistakes and disappointment. Maybe she just needs to be less hard on herself and needs to learn how to speak kinder to herself.” It is easier to support children to develop new behaviours than change a label.

Imagine your child being able to put mistakes into perspective and keep trying when things go wrong. Mistakes are how we learn but making mistakes can be tough and come with big emotions.

Our school holiday art and play workshops all come with a dose of resilience. Kids aged 6-12 are taught tips and tricks to build their resilience while engaging in fun art and STEM projects. No boring lectures, their art and play experience provides modelling for real life through hands on thinking – thinkering! All workshops come with tips to unleash their strengths to tackle problems and mistakes or bounce forward.