Mistakes ( or you can look at it as takes that missed) happen. If are you me, it seems like daily and mostly involving spilling food or drinks on my shirt. Despite the fact that everyone makes mistakes and kids are aware of when their parents or teachers make one, many children fear making a mistake. They fear getting into trouble and looking foolish. This can lead to them avoid trying new things.
However, to promote a growth mindset, we (meaning adults) need to encourage and accept children's mistakes. This means not freaking out over spills, acknowledge how hard children are trying, and normalizing errors as part of the learning and growing process. One of the best ways to normalize mistakes (besides talking about our own!) is to read books about mistakes.
Many people can relate to the struggle of learning to ride a bike and the subsequent falls that come along with it. In Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle by Chris Raschka, a girl learns to ride a bike with the help an adult. She falls, but gets back up and tries again until she gets it. If any activity shows the importance of persistence, it is learning to ride a bike. Ask the children what they have learned to do that was hard and how they stuck with it until they mastered it. If they aren't quite at the age where they are riding bikes, talk about what it takes to learn to walk and run.
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg shows how each and every mistake you make can be turned into something else giving you the opportunity to make something appealing. Simple text makes it appropriate for all ages, including infants and toddlers. For older kids, it inspires mistake art- spill, tear, draw a line where it doesn't belong and see what masterpiece can be made out of it.
Along similar lines, The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken follows an artist, the mistakes she makes, and what she does to make them work. As you follow along, you realize that the mistakes help the artist learn who she is. Mistakes help us determine what we like and what we want. They help to create us when we embrace them and learn from them (or make them work for us).
Uh-oh! The universal code for a mistake because we all make them and need a way to express them. As always, Todd Parr uses his art and books to normalize a part of the human experience in It's Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr. Create a play house out of boxes put at odd angles to create a house of mistakes. Challenge the children to see how they can make the house work and to think of different ways of doing things.
Regina is so worried that she can't draw a jungle that she doesn't draw anything. Finally, she tries to draw a flower, but the flower doesn't come out right in Regina's Big Mistake by Marissa Moss. She tries again with a new piece of paper and eventually finds a way to turn her biggest mistake into something that is just right.
As always, I hope you enjoyed this blog and look forward to your additional recommendations of books about making mistakes or how you help your child learn that it is OK to make mistakes.
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