How to help your kids develop a growth mindset?
We have been taught to believe that some people are born talented or intelligent and are bound to do better than others. That is not true. And definitely not what we should be teaching our kids. Our abilities and personal potential are limitless. The only thing that limits us is our attitude and mindset.
What is a growth mindset for kids?
If you believe that there is a skill that you cannot learn – you have a fixed mindset. Harboring a belief about a limit to your potential or abilities is known as a fixed mindset.
Some people think differently. They believe that their intelligence and ability can be improved with hard work. Such an attitude is known as a growth mindset. It is the opposite of a fixed mindset. When it comes to motivation and acquiring new skills, those with a growth mindset have a great advantage.
As kids start school and begin to learn new things, you can set them on the path towards a growth mindset using the six simple ways listed below.
Ways to instill a growth mindset in kids
Read books that promote a growth mindset for kids
- Salt in His Shoes – The story of Michael, who was a short boy and thought that he could never play basketball. And then he learns that it is not his height but his practice, determination, and dedication that makes him a great player.
- The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes – The story of a girl who was so scared of making mistakes that she stopped doing everything. An event at her school talent show teaches her a lesson about making mistakes and learning from them.
- Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin – Hana is learning to play the violin, and after taking just three lessons, she decides to sign up for the local talent show. Despite being a beginner, her zeal to perform well helps her experience her form of success.
- The Book of Mistakes – The story of an artist trying to draw a girl and how each mistake turns into an improvement of the drawing because of his positive thinking.
- Jabari Jumps – A book about a small boy who wants to jump off a diving board but is scared. The story relates how Jabari overcomes this fear and finally jumps off the diving board.
- What do You do With a Problem – A young boy is faced with a problem, and he doesn’t know how to solve it. He fears the problem at first but finally decides to face it. In the end, he discovers that his problem is an opportunity.
Praise effort over outcome
Offer praise and compliments about the hard work your child puts into something. For example, instead of saying ‘You’re so good at running!’ say, ‘Great job pushing yourself to run faster!’
Model a growth mindset for them
Children learn more by observing their parents than they do by listening to their parents. So practice something that you think you are not good at, to let them see the results of hard work.
Teach them to improve their approach of problem-solving
Different problems require different approaches to problem-solving. So instead of offering the solution, give your children the opportunity to think about new ways to solve the problem.
Teach them the mantra, ‘Mistakes help my mind grow’
An essential part of teaching the growth mindset is to tell children that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes help us in learning something new and should be taken positively.
Don’t give up!
When helping a child develop a growth mindset, it is essential to teach them never to give up. Instill the belief that challenges are fun and mistakes are the only way to learn. When your child says, ‘I can’t do it.’ Respond with, ‘let’s try this together.’ or ‘we’ll practice some more and try again.’
Striving for a growth mindset is more important than developing a perfect mindset. When you adopt this attitude, your child will observe and learn from you. There will always be moments when children feel demotivated. All you have to do is help them believe in themselves.
Samidha Raj works as part of the content marketing team at PlanetSpark, a platform that provides online classes to K8 learners on “New Age Skills” like, English Communication, Public Speaking, Grammar, Creative Writing, Debating, etc. She is passionate about empowering the youth by educating parents about the importance of 21st-century skills. In her free time, you can find her watching documentaries or animated movies and organizing game nights (board games are her thing)!