Julie McIntyre Oct 22 2021

What to do When Your Young Child Makes Mistakes

Mistakes. We all make them. But what do we do when we face mistakes made by our children? Let’s take a moment together to explore this concept. This week’s Tuesday Tip is focused on what to do when our young child makes a mistake.

When I began to research and write this week’s Tuesday Tip for parenting, I found an abundance of wonderful quotes and articles about making mistakes. Here are a few that stood out to me:

  • “You make mistakes. Mistakes don’t make you.” Maxwell Maltz
  • “The only mistake in life is the lesson not learned.” Albert Einstein
  • “Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before.” Anonymous

As young children become more independent and begin asserting themselves more, they are bound to make mistakes. This is a natural process of growing up. Sometimes our children make the mistake of pushing another child, throwing a temper tantrum, using unkind words or an angry voice, telling a lie, or taking something that doesn’t belong to them. There may be others. So, what should you do about it?

A parent’s (or a teacher’s) reaction to a child’s mistake is what counts the most. Each mistake is a teachable moment. It is very important to talk calmly with your child after the mistake has been made. You should wait until your child (and you) have had a moment to calm down. Then, draw near to your child using a peaceful voice and discuss the error of the mistake and the consequence it had on others or oneself.


Here is a short list of parent actions you can take following your child’s mistake making. 

Ten Ways to Help Children & Teens Learn from Mistakes

  1. Acknowledge that you don’t expect them to be perfect.
  2. Let them know your love is unconditional, regardless of their mistakes or lapses in judgment.
  3. Don’t rescue kids from their mistakes. Instead, focus on the solution.
  4. Provide examples of your own mistakes, the consequences, and how you learned from them.
  5. Encourage children to take responsibility for their mistakes and not blame others.
  6. Avoid pointing out your child’s past mistakes. Instead, focus on the one at hand.
  7. Praise children for their ability to admit their mistakes.
  8. Praise children for their efforts and courage to overcome setbacks.
  9. Mentor your child on how to apologize when their mistakes have hurt others.
  10. Help kids look at the good side of getting things wrong!(Get the infographic at the end of this article!)

**This list is from rootsofaction.com.  The full article is linked here.

In closing, please remember that raising a child is a journey. There will constantly be challenges, but most often, there are abundant joys. Always remember to relish in the joys your child brings to you every single day. Teach your child about their mistakes. But continue to show them unconditional love and remind them that making mistakes will never change your love for them.

At Concordia, we view every student as a gift from God. Nurture your gift with love, patience, kindness and understanding when mistakes are made, and your child will have a better chance at growing up into a compassionate person.