In today’s success-driven society, it’s easy to develop a fear of failure.
Parents and teachers often emphasise the importance of getting things right the first time, which can unintentionally instill in children a fear of making mistakes.
As a former Deputy Head I was always mindful about making sure the children in my class (and my own 2 kids) recognised that making mistakes is not the end of the world; in fact, it’s a valuable part of the learning process.
Mistakes can teach kids important life lessons and equip them with the resilience and problem-solving skills they need to thrive in the real world.
Making mistakes is an essential aspect of ‘failing forward’ and that’s why it’s a normal part of life for kids.
I call it the ‘Art of Oops a Daisy‘ and you can read more about fun things to say when your kids make mistakes by clicking on the link.
Mistakes are, first and foremost, an excellent learning opportunity. When children make mistakes, they are confronted with the chance to identify what went wrong and understand why. This process of self-reflection allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the concept or task they were attempting. In a learning environment, making mistakes can be more valuable than getting everything right because it forces children to engage critically with the subject matter and consider alternatives.
So make sure you model that it’s OK to get things wrong and make mistakes – kids are looking and learning from you all the time.
One of the most significant advantages of allowing kids to make mistakes is the development of resilience. When children experience failure and are given the chance to try again, they learn that setbacks are not permanent. This resilience is a crucial life skill. In the face of adversity, resilient people are more likely to persevere, adapt, and ultimately succeed. By making mistakes, kids become more resilient and better equipped to handle future challenges.
Making mistakes fosters problem-solving skills. When children encounter a problem or error, they must think critically to find a solution. This process can be empowering as it encourages kids to explore different approaches and test their ideas. Over time, they become more proficient at troubleshooting and finding innovative solutions to complex problems. In this way, making mistakes prepares children for real-world challenges where problem-solving is often the key to success.
Failure often paves the way for creativity. When kids make mistakes, they are encouraged to think outside the box, consider unconventional solutions, and explore new possibilities. Creativity is a valuable skill that can help children excel in various fields and professions. Embracing mistakes as part of the learning process can help foster a culture of creativity and innovation.
Encouraging Growth Mindset
Embracing mistakes also promotes a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and perseverance. By allowing children to make mistakes and emphasising the importance of learning from them, we encourage them to adopt a growth mindset. This mindset is associated with increased motivation, self-esteem, and a greater willingness to take on challenges.
Reducing Fear of Failure
When children are allowed to make mistakes and understand that it’s a natural part of the learning process, they become less fearful of failure. This fear of failure can be paralysing and prevent kids from taking risks or pursuing their passions. By teaching them that mistakes are not only acceptable but essential for growth, we can help children overcome this fear and become more confident in their abilities.
That’s why I like ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ – watching people make mistakes, grow and learn from them and bounce back the next week ready to try again.
In a society that often glorifies success and vilifies failure, it’s crucial to shift the narrative and emphasise the value of making mistakes.
Failing forward is a concept that encourages children to view mistakes as opportunities for growth, learning, and personal development. By doing so, we can equip them with the resilience, problem-solving skills, and creativity they need to thrive in an ever-changing world.
So, let’s encourage our kids to embrace their mistakes and understand that each one is a stepping stone on the path to success.