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.

3 tips to accepting mistakes to help kids problem solve better

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.

Related Posts:

Accept Mistakes