What is a growth mindset for children?
Growth mindset definition:
“A growth mindset is when students understand that their abilities can be developed,” (Dweck, 2014).
Helping your child develop the right mindset early on is the key to a successful and happy life, and a growth mindset is an important piece.
When children put forth an effort and use the right strategies to help them excel at things, they gradually become more empowered and want to improve. As a result, they become more confident, resilient, and they’re not afraid of failure.
You can teach your kids perseverance with your parenting efforts. Here are the ten effective ways on how children can develop a growth mindset.
How do you develop a growth mindset?
Teach kids about the brain and how it works
The brain is more malleable than we thought. So, teaching children that they have more control over growing their brains through actions and thoughts is actually quite empowering.
Asking questions, practicing, and active learning helps strengthen the connections of a child’s brain.
So, when you teach children that their brains reshape themselves with effort, it helps increase their motivation and sense of control.
Embrace failures and missteps
Start by sharing your own mistakes with your children in your day-to-day conversations. Letting them know that everyone (including you) make mistakes will help your kids feel less afraid of their own failures.
Embracing their mistakes is a wonderful tool in developing resiliency and perseverance in kids.
Value the effort over the result
Whether you’re addressing success or failure, emphasize effort (and the process) over ability (and the outcome).
It’s important to let your child see the connection between the amount of effort they put in and the results they get. Help them understand that most of the time they are in full control of their results and achievements.
Allow kids to fail
For most parents, it’s heartbreaking to see their children fail, especially if the failures come with big emotions. However, allowing children to fail will help them take risks, experiment, and try new things.
It also expands their creativity, problem-solving skills, and willingness to take on more difficult challenges.
Use the magic word “yet” often
When they start doubting themselves and begin saying, “I don’t know how to do it,” you can encourage them and rephrase their statement to: “I don’t know how to do it yet.”
Keep on doing this, and over time, you will hear them saying “Yet” to you.
If your child is struggling with negative self-talk, you can encourage them to start a journal for kids and write down the empowering messages (including the “Yet” statements) in their journal.
Let kids solve their problems
When things go wrong in school or with friends, do not jump in with your fixes right away. Instead, empower your child to come up with their own solutions. If needed, brainstorm together and write down all possible ways to fix the issue at hand.
When we give our children space and time to solve their own problems, we help them exercise their problem-solving skills and help them believe in their own abilities.
Let them pursue their passion
Children find they are at their best if they’re passionately immersed in a topic or activity that they’re interested in.
Encourage them to pursue their passions and support their interests. In case it can cause you financial setbacks to do so, it’s best to explain it to your kids and then encourage them to think of ways to earn their keep. That way, you are teaching them hard work and financial management that can help them fuel their passion.
Show them you trust them to follow what they’re passionate about, and let them pursue their curiosity.
Use positive affirmations in everyday life
One way to replace all the negative self-talk that children play in their heads is to replace them with positive ones.
Research showed that affirmations play a positive role in boosting the self-esteem of students that have low-performing scores.
One way to do this is to pick one affirmation each day, week, or month. Use creative ways to share this information such as writing it in a note for the lunchbox or writing the affirmation on their bathroom mirror.
Use inspirational role models
Who is your child’s favorite athlete, teacher, musician, or any person that they look up to?
Now, let’s start unraveling the talent myth. Most of us think that these successful people are often born that way. You need to show your children that this isn’t always the case.
Rather than focusing on one’s natural-born talent, you could instead focus on early efforts, determination, strong work ethic, and all the learnings along the way that lead them to where they are now.
Encourage them to have the bigger picture in mind
We all want our children to become happy, confident, and fulfilled in life. We can explain to them that the stumbles they will be encountering in life are just part of learning.
Learning takes time, and the path to success isn’t always smooth. It will be tough yet exciting and full of great opportunities and adventures.
Intelligence isn’t fixed, and kids can be the very best version of themselves as long as they’re determined to exert the time and effort to do so.
What you can do as a parent is to lift them up helping them reach their full potential.
Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence. Receive a Parent’s Guide to a Growth Mindset.
Why Growth Mindset is Important TED Talk by Carol Dweck: