Help Kids Focus on the Wins

Children with learning differences can feel pretty down about themselves.


Group of diverse children looking at camera through different silly glasses.


The parents of children with learning differences may be doing their very best to help.  When parents (or educators) struggle to find real solutions, they can feel pretty down about themselves, too.

  • Why is my child still struggling?
  • Why can’t I seem to find the right services to help?
  • What do I do now?  I’ve tried everything and my child’s learning gap is still growing.  The downward esteem spiral continues.


Regardless of the type of adversity we face, we can all easily become trapped in fear, and worry, and negativity.


Let’s look at a fun, quick exercise to flip the script and help kids celebrate the wins.


I sort of stole this idea.  Actually I stole it, then adapted it.  I heard it from Debbie Reber of TiLT Parenting, who heard it from Psychotherapist Katie Hurley.


The original version is aimed at helping kids reframe their negative thinking.  Essentially, whenever a child says or thinks something negative about themselves, have them reframe it.  Think of a power word or positive phrase that is much kinder.  Then write it on a sticky note and stick it to a wall.  That’s it.


I love how this simple exercise not only helps kids reframe their thinking.  It also serves as a visual (and growing) reminder of all of the good they have within them.


When it comes to children with learning differences, especially those who insist that they are “stupid” or incapable or imperfect in any way, let’s put a little twist on this exercise.  Let’s let mom and dad kick things off first.


Step 1) Notice the wins.

Notice simple wins like:

  • They made more of an effort than the day before
  • They said “okay” to homework time instead of “Ah maaaaaan! Do I have to?”
  • They were kinder to their siblings


No win is too small.


Step 2)  Create a win wall!

I recommend letting these wins be more about a child’s effort than the outcome.


I also recommend letting this win wall live in their bedroom.  Let it be a constant visual reminder of the wins they continue to celebrate.  Let it be the last thing they see before they drift off into dreamland.


Create Even More Wins

The win wall not only helps kids know that mom and dad see them, and recognize the good.  It also helps them begin to notice the wins themselves.  When they do, encourage kids to add their own sticky-note-wins!


The win wall, of course, is a good BEGINNING.   However, you may already know this about me.  I prefer to help children with learning differences not just FEEL more capable, but BECOME more capable.  That is why I invite you to create even more wins, wins that help children unlock their true learning abilities.  Learn how to do that by visiting: Remove the Limits to Learning.


In case you’re wondering, yes, I do see you winning at this parenting thing.  Maybe it doesn’t feel like that at the moment, but you ARE reading this post.  You ARE learning whatever you can to improve the life of your learner.  I definitely call that a monumental win.