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It’s the beginning of a new school year and students have a fresh start. But it won’t be long before they make a mistake on a homework assignment or test—and that’s OK.

What matters is how children and parents respond to those mistakes. Instead of glossing over them, parents should help children learn from them. Research shows that when parents and teachers encourage students to learn from their errors, those children do better in school.

One reason may be that fixing mistakes shows kids they can improve— that “smarts” aren’t something they either have or they don’t. Intelligence can be increased. And when students understand their errors and don’t repeat them, they become more optimistic about their own brainpower.

When reviewing your child’s work this school year, first point out what he did well. Then, to help him learn from his mistakes:

  • Point them out. Rather than saying, “Don’t worry—you’ll do better on the next math test,” ask if he understands why his answers were wrong. If so, have him work the problems again. If he’s not sure, offer suggestions or encourage him to ask his teacher for help.
  • Praise progress. Did he miss only two problems on his latest math test? After reviewing his mistakes, remind him that he’s improving. Show him how paying attention to past mistakes—and correcting them—made a difference. The more he sees this, the more he will believe in his ability to improve.

Reprinted with permission from the September 2017 issue of Parents make the difference!® (Elementary School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2017 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: H.S. Schroder and others, “Neural evidence for enhanced attention to mistakes among school-aged children with a growth mindset,” Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, Elsevier B.V.