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Positive attitude towards making mistakes

When you make a mistake, how do you experience it? Are you cross with yourself? Do you hear negative self-talk like “oh you idiot or you’re so stupid”? Do you fear being ridiculed by others?    


Do you see mistakes and errors in a positive light - an experience that provides you with feedback and the opportunity to learn? Do you hear positive self-talk like “OK, I’m not there yet, I still need to learn more about that?”

A few years back I heard Cameron say “silly me” to himself when the tower he was building fell down. I talked to him about this and suggested that saying “silly me” isn’t being kind to yourself and that it’s better to say something like “never mind, try again.” That seemed a lot more positive and enabling.

I also wondered where he got “silly me” from.

We are so fortunate that Cameron’s grandmother, Baba, takes care of Cameron a few days a week. A couple of days later my mother recounted a story from the day she’d spent with Cameron. She said “do you know what Cameron said to me today? Don’t say ‘silly me Baba, that’s not being kind to yourself’.” She chuckled at his remarks, as did I because I now realised where it had come from.

I explained to mum, that the words silly me can seem harmless enough at first glance, however, when you think about it more we don’t want Cameron to say silly me to himself as a young child, as it sets up bad habits which could morph into “I’m stupid” or “I’m such an idiot” as he grows up.

Take a moment to reflect upon what you role model for your child. Does your child see that you’re OK with mistakes or do they hear your negative self-talk. Now think about how your child experiences mistakes – is it in an encouraging or self-depreciating way? Take the time to talk about the advantages of seeing mistakes as feedback and an opportunity to learn with your child. This simple activity will support your child to develop key life skills and personal attributes like:

1. develop a positive attitude to making mistakes

2. view mistakes simply as feedback which is a key part of learning

3. be aware of the harmful effects of negative self-talk and the benefits of positive self-talk.

Do you want to know more about developing your child’s Education Skills and how the Inspired Children Life Skills Home Activity Book can benefit them. There are twelve important life skills you can help your child to develop with the Inspired Children Education, Careers and Money eBook:

A love of learning; planning and completing homework; a positive attitude towards making mistakes; understanding the value of money and household spending; learning about saving money; active learning versus passive learning; understanding why learning is important; the many different roles in life; exploring possible future life directions; investigating the health and medical professions; benefits of active listening for learning; understanding the concept of ‘value-for-money’.

Each activity only takes around 15 minutes to complete and you can complete them at your own pace at a time that suits you and your family’s lifestyle... Most importantly, imagine how good you’ll feel about the huge difference you’re making as a parent to your child’s education, career and their financial literacy. 


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