In order to be creative, we must be not only be willing to make mistakes, but celebrate them. Not every creative endeavor will be successful; in fact, a lot of creative ideas quickly flop. The way mistakes are treated will greatly affect how kids meet the next challenge, the next creative idea.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Kids want to be like their parents. If the way you want your kids to react when they make a mistake and the way you actually react when you make a mistake are different, you have a problem.
Do you beat yourself up when you break something, call yourself names? Do you get frustrated and lose your temper when something you are trying doesn’t work out the first time? How does it feel when you see your little ones giving up or breaking down in tears when they spill their milk?
The quickest way I have found to change the behavior of my kids is to change my own behavior. The good news is that means you hold all the cards. All you have to do is change your behavior. Easy. (I’m teasing, of course. I know changing our own behavior sounds far more challenging than setting up for a change in our kids.) But if you want to raise kids who can embrace mistakes, then this step will make all the difference in the world.
So today’s post is not a how-to for the kids… it’s a how-to for you!!!
5 ways for YOU to accept making mistakes
- Expect them! Go into new experiences expecting a learning curve. When you know you will make mistakes along the way to mastering a skill, it’s easier to relax and enjoy the ride.
- Allow time for mistakes. Knowing you have time to try and try again will relieve the pressure of feeling rushed. Think about how much more patience you have when your not racing the clock.
- Give yourself a break (literally). Go for a walk, read a book, play with the kids or eat a snack. Just make sure you come back to what you’re working on. This one can turn into an easy way to procrastinate on something that feels hard.
- Give yourself a break (figuratively). You ARE going to get frustrated, you ARE going to loose your cool, somethings will trigger more anxiety than others. Let yourself freak out… then pull yourself back together. It’ll all be okay. (And it’s good for kids to see how to recover from an adult tantrum!)
- Laugh at your mistakes. Some mistakes will be hilarious once the dust settles. If you can find a way to see the humor in the midst of the mistake, it just might make it easier to accept… and then you can start working on making the most of it!
5 ways for YOU to make the most of making mistakes
- Talk about them! You might find out that you are not the only one who has made that mistake. You might find relief in saying it out loud. You just might end up helping keep someone else from making the same mistake.
- Press pause. Stepping back for a second and evaluating the situation will help you learn from it. Think about why it didn’t work, why it happened and what you could have done differently to have a different outcome.
- Tweak the mistake. What simple changes can you make to avoid this mistake in the future?
- Make a connection. Try to connect what you’ve learned in this moment with other parts of your life.
- Write down mistakes. Keep a notebook with your or by your bed to record mistakes and what you’ve learned…. after all when turned on it’s head mistakes are simply a new learning opportunity!
Now that you have some ideas for how to make the most of your own mistakes, you’re probably ready to pass this incredible skill on to your kids! In Raising a Creative Kid: Simple Strategies for Igniting and Nurturing that Creative Spark I have an entire section devoted to learning to accept and appreciate mistakes. Read more about Raising a Creative Kid or Buy it Now.