Help your child succeed by teaching them to fail

Help your child succeed by teaching them to fail

teach your kids to fail

Help your child succeed by teaching them to fail

WORDS: Kasey Edwards & Christopher Scanlon

‘Fail fast, fail often’ is the mantra of Silicon Valley. Tech entrepreneurs to performance coaches tell us that the road to success is paved with failure.

And they’re right.

But when it comes to children, our reflex is to shield them from failure. We’ll rush in to rescue, lower the bar or make up awards so that everyone gets a gold star. A school principal told us that he created more lead roles in the school play to make sure no child missed out.

These efforts to spare our kids are well intended. Parents feel their kid’s pain acutely. And today’s society is so scared of failure that we often feel like we are bad parents when our kids do fail.

But if children never feel failure, they’re liable to fear it. And when children are afraid of failure they limit their potential. For some kids, the prospect of failure induces anxiety to the point that they lose the ability and drive to achieve mastery.


The first step is to realise that failure is natural. Watch a baby try to walk and you’ll see that making mistakes is how children naturally learn and develop. Because they have not yet learned to fear failure, and they have no concept of making a mistake, children try and try again and keep trying.

But for many children, somewhere between conquering walking and becoming an adult, the fear of failure becomes a stronger motivator than the desire for mastery and independence.

They often learn to fear failure from watching and modelling themselves after us. This is good news because it means that we can also model the opposite.


You may have worked this out already: you are your child’s hero. This makes you the perfect person to teach them that mistakes are not something to fear but are just part of the processes of learning and achieving.

Let’s face it: if you can screw up royally and live to tell the tale, then anyone can!

failure is necessary


Help your child embrace failure by sharing the skills that you’re still developing but have yet to master – and what you’re planning to do better. This could be anything from baking to your tennis backhand.

And tell your child about those times you made a right mess of something.

Show them with your own experiences that not only is it okay to make mistakes, it’s natural, unavoidable and essential. Remind them that failure is absolutely necessary if they want to live a big and bold life.

Kasey Edwards and Christopher Scanlon are the authors of Raising Girls Who Like Themselves, available at all good bookstores.


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The transition to high school

The transition to high school

transition to highschool

The transition to high school

WORDS: Madhavi Nawana Parker

Entering middle and high school is a big transition that occurs right when children are developing their own identity, experiencing social comparison, facing new experiences and getting overwhelmed by hormones and big feelings. It’s no wonder it can be a bumpy ride sometimes.

Confidence in themselves, social emotional intelligence and resilience help get them through this stage and come out the other end on top.

Wherever your child sits on the spectrum of confidence, social emotional skills and resilience, take it one day at a time. Struggling today doesn’t mean they will struggle forever.

Here are some practical ideas for a successful transition from Primary to Middle and High School.

Express your confidence in their ability to cope

Your child’s confidence is affected by your confidence in them. Children notice what we say, think and feel. Children don’t have enough life experience to know what to expect in all new situations. They put feelers out for how their parents and caregivers feel, using that as a gauge. Initiate optimistic, realistic and constructive conversations about life in general. Talk to them, how you want them to talk to themselves. Our dialogue becomes their inner dialogue. If you’re worried about where they are going to middle and high school – or their ability to cope, debrief with your supporters – out of your child’s earshot.

Normalise caution

Feeling uncertain before you do something new is normal. Caution helps you focus and become aware and prepared to rise to a challenge. Children need to know other children feel similarly to them. Next, provide empathetic, practical support to push through, get out of their comfort zone, keep things in perspective and have a go.

transition quote

Mental preparation and coping skills

Empathy and acknowledgment helps children manage fears and switch logical thinking back on. It’s no good telling them they’ll be fine and not to worry if they’re worried. If we make resilience and confidence sound easier than it is and minimise their feelings, they feel hurt. A supportive response might sound something like, ‘I’m glad you told me how you’re feeling’ and ‘it sounds like you’re nervous about this, how can I help?’

Regular wellbeing practices like movement, hobbies, creative expression, laughter, social connection, digital detox breaks, nature, gratitude practice and journaling all fire and wire the parts in their brain which help them be calmer and help them get familiar with what feels good (so they are more likely to know what to do next time they feel bad).

Be optimistic

We don’t know yet how they will feel when they start middle and high school – they will most likely be fine. Hear them out, normalise their feelings, ask first before you offer advice, show you are optimistic about where they’re attending and build coping tools ‘just in case.’

Increase familiarity

Spend time around the school neighbourhood, play in the local parks and if you can, connect with other families going to the school beforehand. Talk about positive things you’ve heard about the school but don’t overdo it – over reassuring is not healthy either.

You’ll find more tips that help in my  article on choosing the right school for your child in Educate


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Catholic Education: A choice worth making

Catholic Education: A choice worth making

catholic education

Catholic Education: A choice worth making

Choosing a school for your child is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make as a parent. So, how do you find the ‘right’ one?

There are many factors to consider when selecting a school, from single gender or co-educational schooling, to specialist teaching areas provided, to the links and pathways the school offers to secondary education.

Perhaps the most important consideration of all is whether the school will fit your child’s needs. Will they feel like they belong? Will they thrive?

In South Australia, families have a wide range of schooling options including a Catholic education. Through a commitment to educational excellence, Catholic schools provide quality learning in a Catholic context – from the early years through to year 12 – instilling values that will last well beyond the schooling experience.

catholic education

How does the Catholic faith shape day-to-day school life and culture at Catholic schools in SA?

The core Christian values, including social justice, care for the environment and compassion for humanity underpin the daily activities in Catholic schools. Catholic teaching influences the whole life of the school and each child is invited to explore the Catholic faith through classroom lessons, prayer and celebrations.

What makes a Catholic school different?

Catholic schools value the intrinsic worth of every individual child. Our schools provide students with many opportunities inside and outside of the classroom, to educate and nurture the whole person, helping them to be thriving, capable learners as well as extraordinary human beings. Teachers in Catholic schools know what a privilege it is to be part of a child’s schooling journey, because an intangible piece of your
school lives with you forever. What you learn at school shapes who you become as an adult.

Can you attend a Catholic school if you’re not a Catholic?

Yes, we welcome students and families from all backgrounds, faith traditions and spiritual journeys; inclusivity is one of the touchstones of our beliefs. Catholic schools particularly focus on understanding and recognising the range of faith experiences within our communities.

What do you hope for students in Catholic schools?

In every Catholic school, young people are nurtured and shaped to be thriving people, capable learners and leaders. In partnership with families, Catholic schools raise hearts and minds.

Catholic Schools Open Week is from 9 – 15 August 2021, and offers a great opportunity for families to explore the benefits of a Catholic education. Families are encouraged to attend school tours and events at their local Catholic schools and to see how a Catholic education can set your child up for life.

For more information or to find your local Catholic school:

08 8301 6600

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Nature Play the new buzzword!

Nature Play the new buzzword!

nature play sa

Nature Play the new buzzword!

WORDS: Sarah Sutter, CE Nature Play SA
IMAGES: Jason Tyndall, Nature Play SA

The words “nature play” are undoubtedly becoming a buzzword in the SA community. We’re hearing more and more about the importance of nature play for children because we know they are spending less time outside than ever before. Our children’s lives have hectic schedules, structured activities, rules, regulations, and constantly evolving technology.

how to engage kids in nature

Endless possibilities to learn and grow

The concept of nature play is for children to have the opportunity to play freely in natural environments. Play in nature provides endless possibilities for them to learn, grow, engage their full senses, develop gross motor skills, take risks, regulate emotions, and use their imagination.

As a society, we now realise that we need to make positive changes for our children. Part of this shift is bringing nature back into their lives. We see this happening with the increasing number of nature play spaces in schools and local councils and parents’ understanding of the importance of outdoor play. In addition, more and more research is validating the benefits of children spending time with nature.

nature play sa

Building connections

Every time we give our children an opportunity to access nature, we’re improving their physical and emotional wellbeing. Importantly, we are also building our connections with each other.

Nature Play SA’S top tips for engaging children in nature: 

  • Schedule time to help make it a priority
  • Remember that play should be a sensory activity – getting dirty is a good thing!
  • Encourage free and independent play
  • Make visiting natural spaces a regular thing (try National Parks, beaches, and other wild places)
  • Role model nurturing values and behaviours towards nature.

For more information:


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Keeping your kids safe in Cyberspace!

Keeping your kids safe in Cyberspace!

keeping your kids safe in cyberspace

Keeping your kids safe in Cyberspace!

WORDS: Susan McLean from Cyber Safety Solutions

Susan McLean is Australia’s foremost expert in the area of Cyber Safety and was a member of the Victoria Police for 27 years. Widely known as the ‘cyber cop’, she was the first Victoria Police Officer appointed to a position involving cyber safety and young people. 

Children are digital natives, born into a world where they are constantly surrounded by technology and devices.  Smart devices and social media sites have become part of our children’s lives and they strongly influence how children can learn, create, share and exchange information with others. 

Despite the benefits technology brings, the online world does include substantial risks for children.

  •   They are tech savvy but lacking in ‘actual knowledge’ and cognitive development.
  •   It is their primary form of socialisation/communication
  •   They have no fear of technology or cyberspace.
  •   It is extremely important for them to be connected.

Understand the risk… and minimise it!

When you give a child a connected device, you are giving your child to the world and the world to your child. You must understand that there is a risk associated with the use of any device and as a parent you must be there to guide them. 

The risks to your child can include cyberbullying, pressure to share nude images, grooming by predators, digital reputation issues and problematic gaming. Whilst you cannot remove the risk, you must identify, minimise and manage it.

Parenting in the digital space

This starts with being an active participant in your child’s online world, by setting rules and boundaries and knowing what they are doing online and where they are going just as you would in real life. Parenting in the 21st century requires you to be able to parent in the digital space. 

There are ten things that you need to know about cyberspace and to teach your children.

  1. Respect, Responsibility and Reputation. If everyone used tech with respect and responsibility, there would not be ANY online issues.
  2. Cyberspace is a public place not a private space.
  3. Nothing can be totally deleted.
  4. You are never anonymous online – anonymity is a perception, and you can always be traced.
  5. You always leave a digital footprint. People will look you up online in order to form an opinion of you/your child.
  6. Manners maketh the man or women or child. If you wouldn’t say/do it to their face don’t do it online.
  7. Passwords must be shared with parents/guardians but NO ONE else.
  8. There is no such thing as a ‘safe’ app or website. The level of safety is linked to how it is used and what security settings are available.
  9. If there is anything that is bothering you then you CAN talk to a parent/guardian about it.
  10. There are laws online. All forms of online misuse can lead to police involvement and criminal charges.

 The key is educating yourself and talking early and often. Remember, ‘no’ is a very important word and despite what your child says, you won’t be the only parent saying it, but in reality it doesn’t matter. Your child’s safety does!

For more information on caring for kids in an online world: 


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Kumon: A Foundation for the Future

Kumon: A Foundation for the Future

KUMON australia

Kumon: A Foundation for the Future

The Kumon method aims to foster sound, capable individuals who are able to independently carve out a path for themselves in life.

As the largest after-school learning programme in the world, Kumon is more than just tutoring. It’s a partnership between parent, student and Kumon Instructor, to fully pursue each child’s individual potential and develop his or her ability to the maximum. Students progress independently at their own pace, with Kumon helping develop their confidence, a daily study habit and a high level of mathematics and reading ability.


To develop confidence, children start with worksheets that are easy for them. So easy, they can complete a high volume of worksheets, achieving near perfect scores, with speed and concentration. Confident they can do the worksheets on their own, children will be enthusiastic to do more. Their concentration will expand and a daily study habit will form.


KUMON Adelaide

In Kumon, students study at the level most appropriate for them, irrespective of age or school year. As they progress, Instructors ensure that students always study worksheets at their ‘just-right’ level – the spot between study material that is too easy and too difficult. Children who need to build on more basic concepts are supported and those who can be challenged by more complex work are extended.

kumon australia

Children are given the opportunity to practise a topic a number of times when needed, helping them to decrease the number of errors, reduce completion time, review an earlier topic, or consolidate something new before they move on. The right amount of practice and a daily study habit – ideally no more than 30 minutes per subject per day – prepares children for higher levels and lays the foundation for smooth progress.


kumon adelaide

The primary strength of the Kumon Method is, above all, advancing beyond school grade level. The programmes are not only for improving students’ performance in their maths, native, and foreign language classes. Rather, by experiencing and learning how to self-learn through their study of those subjects, children are able to cultivate the ability to independently learn without always needing to be taught. Equipped with this skill, children can pursue their own potential at school and in life with no limitations, by developing a mindset that no problem is too difficult to attempt.


With Kumon’s Free Trial, your child can experience an individualised Mathematics or English programme over two weeks, for free.

Register with your local Kumon Centre now.


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