Mistakes are a fundamental part of learning. Your children will regularly make them as they learn something new, and it’s important to teach them that they haven’t failed, but are instead pushing themselves to learn bigger and better things and getting smarter in the process.
These are our 8 biggest tips to help your child learn from their mistakes, so they can grow into confident, capable adults.
1. Teach them that everyone makes mistakes
Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes from time-to-time, and it can mean that we’re challenging ourselves with something difficult. This takes a lot of courage.
2. Encourage mistakes!
A mistake is an opportunity to go back and figure out what went wrong, and how it can be fixed. This helps your child to develop a deeper understanding of the concept. They are a powerful tool for learning.
3. Explain that feedback is not criticism
Instead, feedback is a valuable way for your kids to learn and get smarter. And of course, be mindful of your tone, body language, and choice of words when you do give feedback.
4. Time your feedback well
The best time to give feedback is when they’re actively working through a problem. The problem will be fresh in their minds, and they can see your feedback in context.
5. Don’t rescue them
It can be tempting to swoop in and fix their mistakes, but they learn nothing that way. Instead, encourage them to try themselves first, or guide them if necessary. Similarly, if they ask for the right answer, help them reach the solution by themselves.
6. Ask them to talk out loud
Talking about our process out loud can help to clarify our thoughts and lead us towards new solutions by stimulating associative ideas in the brain. It can be an effective way for your child to fix their mistakes.
7. Treat mistakes kindly
Learning can be hard enough as it is, without being reprimanded. If they make a mistake, gently ask how they might do it differently. Show them that your love isn’t conditional.
8. Lead by example
Did you ever correct a big mistake and it led to good things? Tell them about it! It’s crucial that they learn the value of making mistakes and correcting them.