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  • Writer's pictureJerika Magat

risk taking + failure: supporting your little one

No matter what class you sign your child up for at True Roots Family Yoga, your child will always engage in some sort of risk taking and "failure." The reason why I place failure in quotes is because I do not see failure as a bad or horrible thing. In fact, it so something that I would hope my child and future children will learn to embrace. I hope they will learn to embrace failure for the following reasons:


failing at something will teach them a lesson and perhaps a mistake that can be learned from and/or avoided in the future.


if we embrace failure from he beginning, mistakes and short comings won't seem so embarrassing and something we want to hide from. rather, this feeling would be part of the norm.


repeated failure will require dusting yourself off and getting back on the horse time and time again. this will in turn build problem solving skills and resiliency as

they continue to work and find success.

In our latest newsletter I share about our Mamastay + Play class and how we can start to encourage risk taking and failure within the first year. Check it out below and I'd love to hear how you are encouraging risk taking and failure with your little one!

In the Mamastay + Play class, the same core gross motor materials will be provided for the little ones to explore and familiarize themselves with. This repeated exposure will help them build confidence in themselves and further develop their abilities. The materials available each week will include the ladder, rock climbing wall, and rocker. These resources are designed to promote confidence-building, balance, and hand-eye coordination.

Developing balance and hand-eye coordination encourages both hemispheres of the brain to work together, which aids in the development of body awareness, problem-solving skills, and sensory integration (the ability to organize and process information from their body and environment).

Gaining confidence and building familiarity will require risk taking and your little one will inevitably fall down, make a mistake or "fail" and not succeed. In these moments how we show up is crucial in how they start to view themselves, what they are capable of, and how they move forward. So how can we show up for them in a way that will build confidence, show support and that "failure" is ok? At True Roots there are a few practices we follow. Take what you like, leave what you don't and find your comfort level in allowing your child to take risks and "fail" all while keeping them safe, showing support and love.

PRACTICE ONE Instead of lifting your baby/child into a tree/play structure; walk them through it. Show them where they should place their feet/hands. Demonstrate what you would do. Babies and children will only take part in climbs and take risks when they feel capable, safe, and confident enough. When we carry and place them into a situation they are not ready for, they can panic, stress and hurt themselves. They likely won't be able to get down and thus depend on you every time they want to play and explore. PRACTICE TWO As they are risk taking and/or something new, ask how they are feeling. Asking how your little one is feeling helps slow their climning and momentum down. Are they getting ahead of themselves? Are they starting to feel nervous? Feeling comfortable and can continue? Asking how they feel allows them to pause, check-in and slow down.


Use encouraging language. See below for some examples:

It is ok to feel nervous about trying something new. You can give it a shot and if you don't feel up for it you can stop.

I notice you are climbing up high, it makes me feel al little nervous to see you that high so I want to check in on how you feel.

Wow, you are so brave trying something new.

I noticed you stopped. I wonder if you are feeling nervous about continuing.

Take a big breath and say "I can do it!" you made

it up and I am here to help guide you back down.

Sometimes we don't make it on our first, second, third go around. This doesn't mean we fail. Some

things take months. sometimes years of practice.

I know it was scary to fall down. Falling down sometimes happens when we try new things. It's how we learn. What did you learn from this ouchie?


Assume and believe babies/children are capable.

In these early years, we are a mirror for our young children. They look to us for reassurance, guidance, and they are copying what we say and do. So if we model confidence, positive thinking, possibilities, believe and show they can do hard things, etc. those are the ideas and beliefs our children will have too.


Safety. Be close by.

Feeling safe is probably the most important factor. Without safety, a baby/child cannot and will not try new things. Let them know you are there; touch their back, use encouraging language, cheer them on! If they fall down; hug them, hold them, kiss them, tell them what you saw, tell them ouchies don't last forever! Tell them how frustrating and even embarrassing it might feel to fall down and make a mistake. Tell them the story/stories when you fell down and how you got back up. Be there. Be close. This is what helps our children to feel safe and keeps them going.

And don't forget, your instincts as a parent are strong! If the situation doesn't feel safe, let them know why; communicate! If you feel nervous, let them know why. If they think they can do it, hear them out. Let them exercise their ability to make decisions and try new things. We have to give them an opportunity to build their intuition and trust they have the answers and knowledge within them.

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