Turn mistakes into learning opportunities

It’s a universal fact that everyone makes mistakes. Although, some people find it easier to admit it than others. When kids make mistakes, as a parent you might react in different ways. 

  • Shout at them. 
  • Criticise them. 
  • Punish them. 
  • Remind them. 
  • Give them a smack. 
  • Preach at them. 
  • Argue with them. 
  • Or letting them know what they should have done. 

But there’s a common problem with all the above-mentioned methods. They don’t work. In the short term, your kid might do some activities to avoid your shouting or punishment But ultimately, poor behaviour is often repeated when you are not around. Your child will continue to pick on other kids, continue to fight, misbehave in school or answer back, which is unsettling to realise. 

Why do parents react in these ways?

Do you know why you keep reacting in the ways mentioned above to teach discipline to your children? Majorly because you cannot think of anything else to deal with it. The issue is, you do not frequently copy the behaviour that you have learnt from your own parents while growing up. Although these methods don’t work out, you do them because you cannot think of what else to do. 

But as a parent you want your child to learn from his/her mistakes. So for that, what can you do? The way you deal with their mistakes has the biggest impact. Shouting or criticising your kids raises barriers. They start to tune you out in their minds and their own poor behaviour becomes insignificant. You become the “bad guy” for them. 

Just think of how would you feel if your boss started scolding you for something, called you stupid or started shouting. Apart from being embarrassed or angry, you might think that “He doesn’t understand” or “I have a good reason”. Contrastingly, you may also think “It’s true. I am stupid. I won’t ever be able to do it” or “La lala… I’m not listening” or “Go and crawl back under your rock, You lizard!”. Some among us may also shout back or take it out somewhere else. 

It’s the same with children. Shouting or punishing your kid stops them from being able to listen or learn. So let’s go through some important steps on how to turn your kid’s mistake into learning opportunities. 

  • Accepting mistakes are normal: Help your child understand that everyone makes mistakes and no one expects them to be perfect. So, admitting and acknowledging your mistakes is a wise thing. 
  • Find out a ‘teachable moment’: Do not react to a mistake with the intention to punish, but to help your kid learn from it. 
  • Explain the problem: Calmly make your kid understand that there is a problem that needs to be addressed and help them to fix it. 
  • Allow kids to calm down after making a mistake: Wait for your child to calm down before discussing the mistake. Allow them the space and time to get over the frustration caused by the mistake. It might be difficult for your kid to think straight when their emotions are running high. 
  • Help them accept the responsibility: Motivate your child to accept a mistake and take the responsibility for it apart from blaming others. 
  • Appreciate responsible actions: Acknowledge your kids if they admit to a mistake or take responsible actions for it. But resist the temptation to jump in a comment, criticism, judgement or punishment. 
  • Stick to the point: Be sure that you stick to the one mistake, instead of highlighting any similar mistakes made in the past. 
  • Help them apologise for their mistakes: Encourage them to say sorry and discuss different ways of doing this in person or in a letter. 
  • Don’t rescue kids from the consequences of a mistake: Control your temptation of rescuing your kid from the consequences of a mistake. Make them realise the outcomes of their actions. 
  • Help them find solutions: Help kids to find solutions for the mistakes they have done and look at ways to make amends. In case they’ve hurt or offended someone, do something nice for them such as drawing a sorry picture or decorating a cake. 
  • Make sure they know that you love them: Whatever mistakes they make, never let your child feel like you don’t love or care for them. Make them realise that you are proud of their courage and determination in dealing with their mistakes. You can also enrol your toddler in early childhood education programsto make them better understand how to deal with situations after making mistakes. 

Wrapping It Up

It’s really important that parents follow the same process when they make mistakes. Kids try to replicate the behaviour possessed by their parents. So, when you loose your temper or do something you are not proud of, apologising is good. This will set a good example and make them realise that we are all humans and we all make mistakes. 

Read our blogs for more effective parenting tips and skills. We, Kumon, are one of the best early childhood education platforms in India delivering personalisedMaths English classes for early learners and school students. Check out our website to know more about Kumon. 

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