Your child crawls under a table and when he stands up he bumps his head on the table by accident.

Vietnamese is my first language and I often say like this in Vietnamese "withdraw from your experience, don't do this next time" (literally translated from Vietnamese to English)

How to idiomatically express that in English?

Maybe, "learn from the past, don't do it next time"?


1 Answer 1


Most people would just give their child a bit of cuddle and comfort mixed in with a lot of "there there" and "did you bump your head?" and "Daddy'll kiss it better" might be words like:

Now we know why we don't stand up underneath the table, don't we.


You won't do that again.

or (as in comments)

You'll remember not to do that next time!

An older child might be told to "learn from your mistakes", but more likely in the context of something more complex than banging one's head

But in the context you give, there is not much need to give instruction. If they are old enough to understand the instruction, they are old enough not to need it.

There is also saying

Once bitten, twice shy

But this is more adult, meaning that you will be particularly risk-averse if you have lost something the first time you tried it.

  • But, why do Vietnamese people often say "learn from your mistakes" to little children in Vietnamese? So the idioms of each country are different?
    – Tom
    Aug 10, 2020 at 8:10
  • I don't know about Vietnamese, but English people do say things like "now we know why we don't...." Of course in both Vietnamese and English its a bit pointless, but that's really a question for Parenting rather than ELL. In this context the words don't really matter, it is just the comforting tone, and the same is probably true in Vietnamese
    – James K
    Aug 10, 2020 at 8:53
  • The nearest equivalent might be something like "You'll remember not to do that next time!" Aug 10, 2020 at 12:12

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