Learning from Mistakes

March 2, 2017
Learning from Mistakes
We all make mistakes in our daily lives.  Teaching our children how to learn from those mistakes, and provide their brain with an opportunity to GROW, is a key component to supporting a growth mindset.


Our tips:

  1. Kick erasers to the curb.  At home, younger kids should be encouraged not to erase mistakes.  Instead, help your kids to look at what they did wrong, cross it out, and try again.
  2. Handle mistakes in a positive way.  Teach your children that mistakes are a wonderful opportunity for their brains to grow.  You don’t have to pretend that mistakes didn’t happen or don’t matter, but you want to give them attention in a productive way.
  3. Practice.  Try to encourage activities that provide lots of opportunities for mistakes.  Keep kids engaged and interested in learning by challenging them.  Remind them that getting things “right” doesn’t help their brains to learn and grow as much as activities that they struggle with.
  4. Model your own acceptance of mistakes.  Do you have a garbage can full of crumpled paper balls?  Show your children that your own mistakes are valuable and that you can handle them calmly and continue to learn from them.
  5. Praise the process, not the result.  Notice your child working at something and praise their effort.  Noticing a child is “working hard, staying focused, trying new strategies or building new ideas,” are  great ways to develop their love of learning.  You can still help guide them to “solve” the problem, but can use your praise to promote a focus on the process.

For more information on developing a growth mindset, click here.  To learn more about how teachers and parents can encourage making mistakes and support the learning process through praise, visit the Mindset Kit.  The Mindset Kit was created by The Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS), a research center in the psychology department at Stanford University