Children’s Careless Mistakes

One of my child’s Maths teacher told us this. If you keep saying to your child "Why are you so careless ?", he will only remember the word "careless". You should be saying, "Be more careful next time" more often than using the word "careless", then he / she will remember to be careful.

I think a few careless mistakes are fine. Then there will be room for improvement. Even as adults, we can be careless at times. You should be more alarmed if you find that your child is not understanding the question or concept or not knowing where to start solving the problem.

The number of careless mistakes tend to decrease as they grow older. If I can categorize the careless mistakes, I think they normally fall under

  • Transcription or transfer error.  They got the working right, but somehow when they write the answer, they copy wrongly. this is quite common for lower primary kids. so, I tell my children to do the working nearer to where they will write the answer. This is to reduce the "transfer" error.
  • Copy the number in the question wrongly.  If it happens too many times, we need to get their eyesight tested. One way is to make them highlight (either circle, underline or use the highlighter) the numbers in the question.
  • Calculation error.  Put your answer back into the question to check. So rather than reworking the question (which some children do as a form of checking), work backwards to see if you get the number in the original question. This one takes some training, not all children can do that.

Can also teach them to check if the answer is logical first. eg. If you add 2 numbers, the answer has to be bigger than either of the 2 numbers, if not, then, the child could have done a subtraction instead.


.Patience proves results.

I would specially agree with this advice as words repeated to a child,or even an adult becomes a self-fullfilling prophecy.

Therefore,positive and encouraging comments will gradually instill confidence in the child,which in turn serves as a motivation for him to understand and learn from his own mistakes.Unfortunately,the child may shut himself off and lose confidence if the adult keeps pressurizing and demoralising him negatively towards his efforts.

Demoralising and drilling phrases such as, "Why do you keep repeating the same careless mistakes over and over again??" or even "Why are you so careless" is an ineffective attempt of trying to reverse the child’s mistakes.

Like adults,children will also need time to improve in his learning progress as methods and facts might be very new to him.Practise makes perfect and improvements come hand-in-hand with an encouraging and patient educator.

 It Ain’t true Luv,Until You Have Your Own… ~ Kiara:::

Learn From Mistakes

Heyya lizawa,

I fully agree with your post.

We are all not perfect so we shudn’t make the children be – perfect.

Since all of us aren’t shy from mistakes the only positive thing to it

is to learn from it – that’s how we improve. All of us..

Tks for the reminder… its good reflection.

> Calculation Error

I practise this with my kiddies too. I have one similar "helping children check

their work post" in another thread – P1 Math. It works for me. Its better to teach the

children to check their own work cos mummy won’t always be around to check

for them. 



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