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How to Teach Children that Failure is a Great Thing



Consider any goal you have once worked towards. You must have failed a handful of times before you finally got in the groove of things, and you made it to the finish line. Now, imagine if you had stopped working towards this goal after a single failure. Not only would that goal not be a part of your accomplishments, but you also would have started perceiving failure fearfully.

A lot of children, like adults, are afraid to fail. The thought of disappointing their family and teachers may weigh them down. As adults, we have the power to change this narrative and teach children that failure is a good thing that leaves them with valuable lessons. Resilience expert Rachel Simmons says, “Think about your biggest mistakes….They probably taught you more courage, strength, and wisdom than any success could have.” It is vital to teach children how to use failure as a tool that they can wield on their road to eventual success.

Here are a few ways to change your child’s perspective on failure:

  1. Let your child try new things, and when and if they fail, reassure them that it is okay, and they can try again. This way, failure is normalized and destigmatized, giving your child the courage and support to try new things regardless of failure.

  2. Introduce them to the acronym FAIL: First Attempt in Learning. Even if your child has made several attempts in learning something, they will keep in mind that making mistakes is simply a part of the process.

  3. Teach children about how the brain responds to failure: When mistakes are made and something new is in the process of being learnt, the brain grows. Knowing this may motivate children to keep going!

  4. Emphasize the concept of ‘failing forward’: With each failure, something new is learnt and something different can be tried in order to achieve a goal. Each failure is a step forward.

If your child can learn how to respond to failure with resilience and acceptance, they are better equipped to tackle their dreams!

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