Making mistakes is not something that children easily embrace. Homework, spellings or piano practice can quickly escalate into what symbolises a ‘mini war zone’, as children struggle to solve problems, fall short when spelling those ‘tricky words’ or just can’t seem to hit that note. This results in tears and meltdowns causing feelings of despair, not just for our children but for us as parents too.
“I’m scared of messing things up.”
“I feel embarrassed when I make a mistake and I worry what others will think of me.”
These are just some statements I regularly hear during workshops and one-to-one sessions, and this ’fear of making mistakes’ stops our children from having ago or reaching their full potential.
However we know that these stumbles and challenges are a part of life. Failure is inevitable and as bitter as it tastes in the moment, it’s often the stepping stones that we need in order to help us to grow and develop. The question is, how do we get our children to lean in towards making mistakes, rather than running away from them?
Below I share 4 proven strategies that supports children to shift their attitude from “I can’t” to one that says, “Bring it on! I’m ready to have another go!”
1. Power Breathing: It’s important to keep our brain calm so that it works for us, rather than against us. If we react to the intense emotions when we feel frustrated, we kick our brain into the ‘flight, fight or panic response’ and this stops us from thinking clearly. Encourage your children to tune into their breath as a way to keep calm. Deep belly breaths lowers the feelings of frustration or worry and helps them think clearly instead.
2. Power Questions
Instead of saying, “Why me? Why can’t I get it right?” encourage children to ask empowering questions instead, “What can I learn from this? How will this help me grow?”
Asking these questions encourages the brain to search for solutions and new opportunities, empowering children to take action.
3. Stretching my brain
Children often allow their mistakes to become a reflection of their self worth, eg: “I got 4 / 10 for my spelling therefore I must be rubbish at spelling.”
However, once children understand that their brain actually gets ‘stronger’ when they are tackling challenging tasks, they are able to view the challenges as an opportunity to grow and ‘stretch’ their brain.
4. Celebrate the ‘Yes’ moments!
View mistakes as learning opportunities and ‘celebrate’ them – do a silly dance or call out, “Yes!” Help your children reframe their mistakes as new learning opportunities and encourage them to record their ‘yes moments.’ By seeing their ‘yes’ moments they are reminded of what they have learned and over time they will have a running record of their new learnings!
Above all else, encourage your child to have fun, laugh and celebrate the small wins. The bumps along the way are not there to slow us down, but rather to help us to learn and grow. By learning to embrace the challenges with a sense of curiosity, it encourages children to be more open and receptive to new learning and it also helps them bounce back quicker when those setbacks occur.
For more information, please visit www.powerthoughts.co.uk