Are you trying to help children succeed in your child care program or as a parent? In order to learn and develop, children need opportunities to experience success. This week’s blog comes from our Care Course Child Development and Guidance and has information that will help you help your children succeed.
Children feel successful when they do things on their own, in their own way. Children need the freedom to meet challenges and succeed on their own. This is essential for children’s learning and development. However, it is sometimes difficult for adults to allow children the freedom to succeed on their own.
One way for children to experience success is through experimentation.
By definition, the process of experimenting involves periods of frustration and failure. An understanding of the function of frustration and failure in children’s learning process will help you give children the freedom they must have in order to learn and feel successful.
Frustration and failure are not always negative experiences. While too much frustration can indeed be overwhelming, some frustration is essential on the pathway to success. Experiences of failure are also essential before children can experience the joy of success. When facing a challenge or attempting to solve a problem, children must first experience what does not work to help them figure out what does work. Allowing children to experiment and keep on trying on their own even if they don’t get it right the first time gives them the opportunity to feel a sense of triumph when they do succeed. Their triumph shows in their eyes and their smiles. Such triumphs are the building blocks of positive self-esteem.
Failing to allow children to experiment and keep on trying on their own teaches children to expect either (1) that they are not capable of figuring things out on their own or (2) that making the effort to do so is not important.
Your interactions with children teach children either (1) to experiment, keep trying even when they are frustrated, and finally succeed, and thus build their self-esteem or (2) to expect that they cannot successfully complete a task on their own, and thus erode their self-esteem.
Children who feel that they are incapable expect themselves to fail. This attitude leads to feelings of self-doubt and low self-esteem. Children who are not allowed to keep experimenting on their own until they have discovered what works will stop trying to do things by themselves. They will lose their natural curiosity and persistence. They will learn to passively go along with the adult’s behavior rather than actively seek to solve problems on their own.
Children do not measure success in the same manner as adults. Children are more interested in the process than the product. Successes—even the tiny ones that may seem insignificant from an adult point of view—are significant to children. Every success motivates the child to continue learning and contributes to the development of positive self-esteem.
Children need many opportunities for spontaneous, self-paced, child-controlled play. Play is the ideal way for young children to learn. Read some of our blogs to find fun activities to inspire your children’s imagination!
Take our course Child Development and Guidance to learn more!
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