Has your child ever insisted on pouring their own juice, only to spill it all over the table? Or maybe they decided to dress themselves and ended up with their clothes on backward. As caregivers, we know that raising children comes with a lot of messes and mistakes. And that’s an important part of their learning process! By kindly coaching them through their mistakes, we can help them develop problem-solving skills, self-confidence, and a love for learning that will benefit them throughout their lives.
As children learn and explore their world, they will make mistakes along the way—that's OK. In fact, mistakes can be a great opportunity for children to learn and grow. By making mistakes, children can learn from their experiences and better understand the world around them.
But, as caregivers, it can be tough to watch our children face challenges. Often, we may want to jump in and solve their problems for them. However, when children are encouraged to find solutions on their own, they build important problem-solving skills and confidence in their own abilities. As caregivers, we can support our children by gently coaching them through their mistakes. Here are a few tips:
Before you act, take a deep breath. Children pick up on our emotions, so if we react with frustration or anger, it may discourage them from trying again. It can help to practice deep breaths during calm moments so it comes naturally when difficult situations arise. Learn more about the power of taking a deep breath.
Encourage them to keep trying. Let your child know that it's OK to make mistakes and that you believe in their abilities. You can try using language like: “I believe in you!” “I would love to hear what you think is a good solution.” “I know you can do it!” “Sometimes, things don’t work on the first try, and that’s OK! What if you try again?” “I understand you’re feeling frustrated, and that’s OK. What can you do differently next time?”
Offer guidance and support. Rather than simply telling your child what they did wrong, offer guidance on how they can improve. Ask them questions and give suggestions on how to approach the task differently. “What do you think you can do to solve this problem?” “Can you think of some ways to fix this?” “What do you think would happen if you tried it this way?” “What can you do differently to make it work?”
Celebrate their successes. When your child does get it right, celebrate their success! Encourage and praise their efforts. Our previous article provides many different examples of how you can praise and encourage your child.
Children are constantly learning and growing, and making mistakes is a natural part of that process. By calmly, gently, and kindly correcting their mistakes, parents can help their children develop problem-solving skills, boost their self-confidence, and ultimately support their learning journey.