Three Things I Learned Today is a game that will help your child see learning as a positive experience, to s find positive outcomes from mistakes and failures, and promote a growth mindset. If you play this regularly, it will create a life-long love of learning and a mindset that will increase the likelihood that they will develop into happy and successful adults. Three Things I Learned Today is very simple to play: at the end of the day (preferably at or just before bed time), sit down with your child for a few minutes and then ask them if they can think of three things that they learned that day. You should do the same, and once you both have thought of the things you learned, you can take turns in naming them one at a time. This is repeated until each of you has shared three things that you’ve learned. However, it’s important that you explain to your child that for this game, and for life in general, learning simply means knowing something at the end of the day that they didn’t know at the beginning of it. This means that the things they have learned can be facts, or how to do something, but it can also be the outcome of apparent failures or mistakes (such as ‘I learned that I shouldn’t try to ride my bicycle down the stairs without a safety helmet on’ or ‘I learned that playing the piano is harder than I thought it would be’). This helps your child see positive outcomes from potentially negative events,
Ages: Four and older. This is a game you should start playing regularly with your child as soon as they have developed the verbal skills to easily talk about events in their day.
Core Life Skills It Will Help Develop: Intrapersonal Skills – Growth mindset.
Parental Skills It Will Help Develop: This is a game that will benefit you, as an adult, too, as it can lead to developing or enhancing your own growth mindset, which will, in turn, benefit your child. In addition, it’s a great way to listen to your child and find out exactly what they are interested in, and how this changes as they develop. This is an important key to developing a strong, positive relationship with your child.
What Do You Need To Play It? There is nothing that you need to play this game, other than a few minutes of your time.
Preparation: There is no real preparation required for this game. However, if you struggle to find things that you’ve learned in your daily life to talk about, it is important that you prepare a list before you start playing this game with your child. In addition, you might want to consider writing down things when they happen to you to make it easier for you to recall them later.
How Do You Play It? Sit down with your child at the end of their day, preferably at or around bed time, and tell them you are going to play Three Things I Learned Today. To play the game, each of you needs to think of something that you now know that you didn’t know when they woke up that morning. Invite your child to go first, and once they have thought of the first thing they have learned, encourage them to tell you what it was, how they learned it, and why it is important to know. No matter what they choose, or why, don’t criticize your child’s choice (after all, the game is about what they have learned, not what you think should have learned!). Instead, praise them appropriately for their choice and reasoning. In addition, do not interrupt them while they are telling you about their choice. Once they have finished, then it is your turn, and you must tell them something that you and learned, how you learned it, and why it is useful to know. It is important that you’re honest about this as your child (especially older ones!) will be able to tell if you are being insincere. Once you’ve told them about the first thing that you’ve learned, let your child take a second turn. The game is completed when each of you has told the other three things that they have learned that day.
When And Where Can You Play It? To ensure that your child gets the most out of this game, it is important to play Three Things I Learned Today on a regular basis, preferably every day, as this will help them develop a positive attitude to both learning, and to any mistakes or failures they encounter. This game can be played any time, but it is best played at the end of the day, preferably during a quiet time or close to bed time, as it encourages them to reflect on the positive events in their day. Remember that you will be listening to your child share their views on their day. This means that, whenever you play it, you must make sure that you are not going to be interrupted before the game is finished, so it is really important that you switch off your phone (or leave it in another room), turn off the TV and remove any other possible distractions. Also, play this game one-on-one with your child so that they are the sole focus of your attention. This is really important as they have to feel that they are being completely listened to when they are sharing their lives (this will encourage them to talk to you about other things in their life as well). If you have several children, it is best to play this with each of them in turn (and not in front of each other), so that they don’t make fun of each others choices. If you do choose to play it as a group, then strictly enforce the rule that no one is allowed to make fun of another’s choice.
Variations: While it is best to play this game at the end of each day, if your child is having difficulties with particular areas of their in their lives, like school, then you can vary the game and play Three Things I Learned At … (e.g. Three Things I Learned At School – where they choose events from their school day, and you from your work day). If you do this immediately after the event they are struggling with (like a day at school), then it will help them switch their perception of it from negative to positive. This is because you will shift the focus of their day from focussing on negative events to the fact that they can learn something from every situation, even if they have failed or made a mistake. You can also extend this game throughout the day by encouraging your child to make a mental note of anything that they learned when it happens. If they have trouble remembering things, you can also encourage them to take notes, but make sure that you don’t go over the top with this, and end up turning learning into them into a chore!
More Information About The Theory Behind This Game
This game is based on mindset theory, and in particular the idea that a growth mindset can be one of the most important factors that will contribute to the likelihood that your child will grow into happy and successful adults. This is because a growth mindset creates a world-view where a person isn’t constrained by a fear or failure or making a mistake, and where they are more open to trying new things. One of the best ways to help a child to develop a growth mindset is to help them see that they can learn something from almost any situation, and especially negative ones, they find themselves in. This is what this game is designed to achieve, and the earlier you can get your child into this way of looking at the world, the happier they will be throughout their life. You can find more information about this topic on the following links:
- What is a growth mindset? (Mindset Works).
- The most important mindset for long-term success (Sparring Mind).
- The Growth Mindset Pocket Book.
As well as providing them with a framework which they can use to develop a growth mindset, by listening to what they learn each day, you will learn more about them, and it will help develop a deeper bond, and understanding between you that can last a life-time. In addition, because you are sharing your own learning experiences with them, it will also help them learn that this is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. As a result, it is important that this game is not always played by the same parent, and it is best when played by as many of the important adults in a child’s life as possible. This is because it will help them learn that different people learn different things from the same events and that it is okay to share their experiences, even negative ones, with every important person in their lives. However, ensure that any adults who intend to play this game with your child understand they must fully focus on the child while it is being played, that it must be played completely uncritically and that they must never ridicule the child for their choices, as this could cause them lasting psychological damage.
About The Author: This post was written by Colin Drysdale, the creator of How To Raise A Happy Genius.