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How Kids Learn: From Other’s Mistakes or their Own?

What to do when kids don't want to listen?

Learning from Mistakes

Have you ever noticed the times when kids don’t want to learn from others mistakes they want to make their own?

I got thinking about this over the holidays while working on my free kids yoga guide.  As an adult there were times I learned about kids yoga by making mistakes, and often I enjoyed it. But there were times when my own mistakes were wearing me out.  Like my first yoga class where I could not figure out  how to get the kids involved.  After weeks of struggle I realized I needed help and sought advice from others who had already figured it out.  The key was I wanted the advice.

Putting my new guide together I thought about what unnecessary hardship could I save kids yoga enthusiasts. Whether people use it or not is up to them.

You can sign up for the free guide here.

Get the new guide – click:
“The Essential Starter Guide to Teaching Kids Yoga.”

Often when we teach kids, of any age, they will dismiss our advice and do it the way they want.  As a mentor, we often must step back and watch them learn.

For instance, I worked with my 16 year old nephew on a family video we were editing on the computer. My nephew’s mouse clicked back and forth over the screen like it was a ping pong tournament.  After about 15 minutes the computer was humming and I just sat there amazed at how fast he was going.

The Eye Roll or the Shrug-Off means Its Learnin’ Time

When I suggested he SAVE the video, he shrugged me off saying, “Aw, it’s okay, I do this all the time.”

I wandered off only to see him descend the stairs with a sad face a few minutes later. “The computer crashed.”

It wasn’t a big deal; he lost about thirty minutes of work. I had a little regret that I didn’t push him to SAVE in that moment.  Believe me, I wanted to.  But if someone insists they know better who am I to force my opinion on them?

When Kids Don’t Want Your Advice

What’s an adult to do when kids don’t want your advice?  Whenever you can, especially when there’s no danger, you’ve got to give kids freedom.  Even if you think it will be freedom to learn the hard way.

As a teacher and a mentor I’ve found the times when I insist on my way are rare.  Which doesn’t mean I don’t tell the kids how I expect them to behave.  But by building a healthy relationship where I listen to the the kids, the kids are more inclined to listen to me.

Do I want to be a teacher or do I want to be right?

A teachers job is to help kids learn how to learn, not just follow instructions.  A yoga teacher’s job is to help kids find the wisdom within themselves.

After the computer crashed my nephew didn’t want to start the project again.  He took a bit of a break then I offered to work on the video (ah finally a chance to do my own editing!).  But he quickly took over when we got to the computer.

Did he save more often?  I can’t say for sure, I didn’t wait around to see. But I know the video got done because the whole family (12 people) huddled around the computer to watch it that evening. It was a highlight of the weekend.

Experience is the Best Teacher

If we learn from the mistakes of others, we don’t have to learn from our own.  But if a child doesn’t want advice, their own experience will be the best teacher.

Has this happened to you?  What do you do when your kids don’t want the benefit of your wisdom?  Do you let them learn the hard way?  I invite you to share a story in the comments of when you had to step back and watch it unfold or what happened when you just couldn’t help yourself.


Young Yoga Masters:  Upcoming Events

Join me for the Young Yoga Masters 16 hr weekend Kids Yoga Teacher Training.  Spaces are filling up so register early.  We keep the class sizes to under 20 people so everyone has an opportunity to get involved. Click on the dates for more info:

If you can’t make it to the in-person training, take a look at our on-line Yoga for Boys Kids Yoga Teacher Training.  For games, activities, and yoga that keeps boys coming back to yoga.


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