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Power of Play Blog

Parent Play Tip: View Mistakes As Opportunities

By Sarah Dybicz

“Now go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” – Neil Gaiman 

Mistakes, mix-ups and mishaps. They’re powerful learning experiences. Think about how many inventions came about because of mistakes or happy accidents.

As a parent, it’s important to view your child’s mistakes as opportunities. Kids grow when given the chance to make mistakes, work through them, test and try, and try again. The information, ideas and strategies they gain when working through a bump in the road are more likely to stick with them than if everything went smoothly.

Mistakes force kids to solve problems. Kids must take risks and exercise critical and creative thinking skills to overcome mistakes. In doing so, they build resilience and grit and gain confidence. Allowing kids to make their own mistakes empowers them to develop skills that serve them well in school and throughout their lives.

How Can You Support Your Child?

As your child’s play partner, you can serve an important role in supporting your child through mistakes. Here’s how:

  • Remind yourself that mistakes are ok – and let your child know that too
  • Encourage them to slow down, and turn their frustrations into opportunities to test and try again
  • Support your child and be present, but resist the urge to take over
  • Ask open-ended questions to help guide them (“what have you tried so far?” and “what might you try next?”)
  • Encourage them to take breaks when needed, but to return to the problem when ready … to not give up
  • Cheer on their attempts – talk out loud about the actions they’ve taken and skills they’ve used

You’ll take great joy in seeing your little one overcome their mistakes and grow important skills along the way.

So here’s to making amazing, glorious and fantastic mistakes! Get more information on the power of play at mcm.org/parent-resources.

 

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    Parent resources are funded in part with money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund that was created with the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4, 2008.

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