3 Tips to Accept Mistakes and Raise Creative Problem Solvers
Why should parents be excited about their kids mistakes? How do mistakes increase creativity? To answer those question we’ve got today’s post from Jillian Riley. Jillian is the blogger at Confidence Meets Parenting, a former early childhood educator and mom of two. ~Alissa
Mistakes are the Building Blocks for Creative Problem Solvers
Being able to accept mistakes is important for parenting in general but for creativity is essential.
Mistakes can bring an idea to a halt, cause anger, create frustration OR they can be the building blocks of learning. How we as parents feel about mistakes will directly affect how our kids feel about mistakes. That is why it’s so important to get a handle on the opportunities mistakes offer.
1. Recognize the Opportunity. Making a mistake means that you (or your kid) took a risk. You tried something. Because the outcome wasn’t what you had planned you are handed a valuable learning experience. Remember when you make a mistake that your kids are watching and as the world’s best imitators, they will imitate your response when they make their own mistakes.
2. Take a moment to evaluate the situation. – Rather than getting upset with your kid (or yourself), ask stimulating questions. What happened? Why didn’t it work the way you thought? What could you try next time to get a new outcome? Putting the mistake in positive terms takes the negative tone out of it and allows your kid to move into a learning place.
3. Expect and plan for positive ways to handle mistakes. Do you have a few scripts you can say when you witness a mistake? Mistakes become learning opportunities when they are expected and welcomed. Every properly handled mistake adds a building block to their skill set, and gives them confidence to take important risks in the future.
As I was writing this, a mistake was unfolding right next to me. Big M jammed a pencil (backwards) into his battery powered pencil sharpener. I watched for a second as panic swept over his face. The pencil came out, the metal casing and eraser did not. But wait!
It wasn’t a second later that I saw one of my favorite things. I call it that creative spark, popped in his eye. I removed the batteries (we like mistakes but not danger…) and let him figure it out.
I didn’t see how he removed the eraser, but I know he did it himself because a new look was in his eye when he returned. Pride. Imagine how different this situation would have been if I had yelled, taken the sharpener and sent him to his room. The only thing he would have gained is fear to experiment. Instead, with the room to make a mistake, he was able to practice problem solving and gain a little confidence in his ability to handle unexpected situations.
- Why I’m Glad my Son Failed Today
- 64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
- 15 Questions to Ask to Spark Creativity
64 Positive Things to Say to Kids
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My daughter is pretty timid and brings me a lot of problems that she expects me to solve for her: “Mommy, I want [x]” or “I need [x]” or “I can’t do [x]”. Often my response includes “What can you do about that?” (Depending on the problem, I also try to validate what she’s saying, acknowledging that the task is challenging when appropriate.) She gets to think of a solution and work on implementing it. Sometimes the solution is to (politely) ask for help, other times it’s getting a stool or other tool so she can do it herself, or even just keep trying. And sometimes my way of helping is to offer suggestions on how she can do it, not simply doing it for her. Of course, she doesn’t always get something just because she wants it, but it’s a lot easier to say yes when she brings me a course of action!
I say it a lot less frequently than I used to, because she’s gotten in the habit of working many things out by herself, and her preschool teachers said she had very advanced problem solving skills for her age. Practice!
My son struggles so bad with ” stuffing up” Thank you
Awesome tips! I’ll definitely be sharing this on my page 🙂
Funnermother: Let's get fun
I was JUST telling my 11-yo that THIS IS the scientific method! Experiment, tweak, experiment again, tweak again….
Tagging myself in this one, sounds like it would work for me and the kids!!
LeeAnna Speaks Lutz
I love this article! Thank you for reminding me to take opportunity of learning moments! I can sometimes say I have the creative flow to have a problem solving opportunity take place, however when stressed or rushed I forget and react! This was a great reminder on how our reactions affect our children every step of the way. We do have lots of conversations about making mistakes, and what I found empowering about your article is the key piece of giving an opportunity to the child to mend things or be part of the solution.
Great post – and so true. I was at the store the other day and a mom was yelling at her kid for not using the bathroom when he told her he had to go. He was only 2 or 3. I wanted to yell at her but didn’t want to make things worse. I have given people sad pathetic looks before when they are mean to their kids. Or made a positive remark to the child. What is wrong with people? These are precious little spirits here to make our live happier. Thanks for the reminder.
I think everyone has been in the frustration box before. I know I have. My husband is gone most of the time, and our new location has little to offer as far as support system. It’s hard some days alone with 3 little ones, and while I don’t yell at my kids, especially in public…. When I see a Mom who is frustrated, I try to say something like “One of those days, huh?” and then talk about something similar that may have happened to me or someone else, so she gets the perspective and end with “but they’re little for only a little while, so….”. At that point, the Mom ALWAYS feels relieved and then treats the child differently. Dirty or sad looks and judgement serves very little and aggravates the situation, making the mother more frustrated. I used to be one of those before children, and have thankfully learned my lesson.
Thank you! I just found your website through Pinterest and I am excited to learn and make some changes as a parent! Grateful for the “pin” that brought me here, “100 Ways to be kind to your child?
I’m learning this. My mom was always on me about perfection and don’t make a mess and do it my way. I found myself falling into the same pattern and I want to change that. As I practice saying, “no biggie,” I have to breathe and talk to myself. I have to remind myself that it really is no big deal. It’s slowly allowing me to take my own risks as well. Thank you!
One of my favorite phrases is “no biggie.” We use it a lot around here when mistakes happen.