Remember the old saying “if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again?” When it comes to failure and teaching resilience to kids, this saying is a wonderful example of how to encourage your children when they first encounter failure. Failure is inevitable, especially as children begin to grow, try new activities, and explore the world around them. What doesn’t have to be inevitable, though, is giving up. By encouraging your little learners to try again and letting them know that failure is normal, you’re not only promoting healthy social emotional development, but a valuable lesson in resilience and hard work as well.
Teaching resilience to kids may sound difficult, but with frustration tolerance activities for kids, as well as activities to teach resilience readily available in books like Susan A. Miller’s Social Development of Three-and Four-Year-Olds, helping your child learn from failure is easier than ever.
Here are a few tips on teaching children the importance of failure, hard work, and determination you can share with your kids today!
- Promote mastering a skill. Encourage children to practice a skill. Help them persist until they feel successful. For example, when a child learns to balance on and ride a scooter, she feels competent and thrilled with her accomplishments.
- Use a sense of humor. Model how you handle your frustration and don’t give up on a task. Help children think of solutions if they get stuck. Be able to laugh at yourself if you mess up. If you smile, the children will learn to smile as well. Smiling is contagious! For instance, if it rains for your picnic, construct picnic benches in the block area and spread a big tablecloth inside on the floor. Bon appétit!
- Do not overpraise. A child is happy when he masters and experiences activities, such as running, hopping, and wiggling through a maze with friends. However, if you always say “good job” whether he completes a task well or not, he will become confused. He will be happier if you let him know you appreciate his efforts along the way as he tries to master something, rather than always praising the finished product.