Friday, July 5, 2013

Teaching Children About Failure

Educational toys
Educational Toys Roll

I will never forget the look on my daughters face that time I gave her an “F” on a weekly quiz. I don’t remember the subject but I do remember the look on her face. It said, “my mom just gave me an “F”! She has never made an “F” since, maybe a “C” when she stops trying occasionally, but she is mostly an “A” student like her parents.

But what do the facts say about allowing failure? In fact, research suggests that a developing child mustencounter both success and failure to form an accurate self-image. This accurate self-image is necessary to equip them for tasks in later life.

This development of self-image and how a child encounters life is in essence the story of how he or she will relate to others both now and later in life. Allowing children to face and overcome failure early in life is significant to the development of self, identity, and psychosocial maturity.

What are some ways a homeschool parent can do this?

Adventure Play
Adventure play and project learning typically involve challenging physical tasks such as rock climbing, zip lines and survival camping however these activities can also include problem solving tasks and mental challenges. Research supports that overcoming a challenge produces an increase in self-esteem. This overcoming builds a memory base to which the child can refer back later. “I did that, so I can do this.”

Stock Educational Toys
This same memory bank is built earlier in life when a child plays with an educational toy; as the child masters a complicated toy he or she develops a memory of self-esteem. Educational toysare toys that prompt a child to environmental interaction; when a child plays with an educational toy it will sway, spin, swing, tumble, walk, float, rotate, roll or fly. These interactions not only help the child to understand basic environmental concepts such as gravitational pull they also allow a child to master the most basic of tasks forming the first self-images.
Talk to Your Children About Failure
Researchers studied conversation between parents and children comparing conversation that took place during conflict such as bad behavior and conversations regarding past negative events and found that when parents and children talked about these events they were able to turn the event from negative to positive. It is not so much how you fail but how you remember the failure.
In the end, allowing your child to experience both success and failure and providing them with positive support is the most effective way to raise a well-rounded adult with a healthy self-image. Let your child try something new today.
You may also want to read my post about Affordable Educational Toys.


  1. I think this is something everyone needs to hear. I appreciate the post. Some good ideas!

    1. Thank you Sara! I know it has been very helpful information to me personally. I am one of those moms that needs practical details. Ty for stopping by!

  2. Failure is one of life's greatest teachers. Thank you for reminding us of that!
    (stopping by via Titus 2sdays)

    1. Thank you. The Bible says something to the effect that a wise man or woman learns from their failures...I pray my kids do! I hope they learn from the little failures so they can avoid the big ones! :)


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Fueled by the growing list of pollution related allergies my family suffered from each day, and inspired by my 97 year old grandmother who could recycle ANYTHING before recycling was cool, back in 2011, I decided (in the spirit of the Julie/Julia Project...) to embark on a journey to see just how much one family could do to change our planet. I didn't consult any other parties before I launched this idea. Thankfully my husband, daughter and son are usually my biggest supporters. Here is the catch; as I'm normally very thrifty (you can note from early blog posts), I was looking for ways that I could reduce our carbon footprint and make socially responsible purchases without increasing our spending. Mmmmmm. We succeed in changing some of our habits a bit and finding ways to reduce our footprint. There were lots of fun epic fails alone the way too! But the biggest change we have made over the course of the last six years, was to move from the mega city of Phoenix to Wyoming. You can read my full bio on my About Me page.

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