We often see our little ones work hard to accomplish something new. The child who learns to whistle for the first time has tried over and over again. Learning to snap one’s fingers is a similar process. There are lots of trials and errors. The child takes the feedback (not consciously) from all of the failed attempts and fine tunes those small movements until finally the SNAP is heard. How exciting!
Here is a perfect opportunity to reflect to your child what you have observed. Notice the effort: “Jake, you worked hard to do that. You tried over and over again until you finally could snap your fingers.” There’s no need for a lot of hoopla over this. Rather, calmly notice the effort.
Children have a natural drive to accomplish. If adults make a “big deal” over new skills, the child may feel more motivated to get the reaction from adults than to learn on their own. So it’s best to comment on the effort and mirror the child’s feelings: “You certainly worked hard at that. I think you’re feeling proud of yourself?”
Research scientists know that they may have hundreds of failures before they get the answer they are seeking. In pharmaceutical research, for example, the right formula may be trial #583. Imagine how the scientist feels when trial #198 is yet again not having the desired effects! In order to complete her goal, she must persevere and try again and again…. and again. Each failed attempt gives her another bit of information to guide her next trial.
People who fail the most have the most successes!