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How to Help Kids Learn From Mistakes

When family members talk openly about times when they made a mistake and lessons they learned, it helps kids understand that mistakes are a stepping stone for success rather than a source of shame.

Below are four key steps for adults to help kids learn from mistakes.

Talk about mistakes. Tell your child (or family) that you want to make a habit of talking about mistakes and lessons learned from them. Share that everyone makes mistakes and encounters challenges, and that these mistakes provide opportunities to learn and improve.

Share a mistake. Share about a time when you made a mistake: what happened, how you handled it (even if it wasn’t so well, at first), and what you learned.

Encourage sharing. Encourage your child (or family) to share about a mistake they made (what they did leading up to the mistake, what happened, something they could have tried to change the outcome).

Talk regularly. Talk about mistakes and lessons learned during daily or weekly activities like mealtimes. When someone in the family makes a mistake, you can also practice saying, “What can we learn from this?”

source: Making Caring Common Project HARVARD

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