Learning to embrace a growth mindset when young is the perfect time to adopt this positive attitude. Growth-oriented children are more likely to enjoy school, achieve their goals, and have higher self-esteem. Teachers and parents looking for ways to cultivate a growth mindset in their children can follow these guidelines and advice to help them value learning and embrace the power of growth.
Tips for Cultivating a Growth Mindset in Children
1. Make sure they know it is okay if they fail. When you give your child permission to try, even when it could result in the wrong answer or a failed attempt, they expand their learning and become more comfortable with taking risks. They pick up on their values from you, so be sure you share how you deal with failure and what you learn from your mistakes.
2. Integrate “yet” into your vocabulary. When your child talks about something they can’t do, remind them that this is merely something they have not learned yet. When they are focused on a mistake, help them see that the solution has not yet been discovered. The word “yet” opens possibilities for the future and keeps them focused on what is still to come.
3. Give your kids chores and tasks. When your child accomplishes something, they will feel pride in their work, which builds confidence. The earlier children have responsibilities, the more they become involved in family life and the needs of your household. Allow kids to accomplish tasks in their way so that they can learn from their mistakes, too.
4. Use praise strategically. When you compliment your child, make sure they know what it is you are placing value on. Instead of saying, “good job,” maybe try praising them for trying several ways to solve a problem. Instead of telling them they are smart, tell them they are solid or resilient.
5. Talk about how brains get stronger over time. Kids need to know that their minds are just like other muscles in their bodies, and they can improve and get stronger when they use them in new ways. Using the language of growth thinking, including those of continuous or lifelong learning, is crucial when talking to your children.
6. Reward effort as well as results. The final grade is the result of all the hard work throughout the semester, so be sure your kids know that those efforts are essential all along the way. And hard-fought outcomes are more important than easily achieved goals, even when they are not what was expected.
7. Be a growth mindset role model for your children. When they look at you, they need to know that you value learning and mistakes the same way you tell them. Your actions will speak much louder than your words, so be sure that you are also working on cultivating your own growth mindset.
8. Notice when your children are being persistent. Praising hard work, determination, and resiliency will show them what is essential. You do not even have to offer words of praise. Simply noticing that they are sticking with something hard is enough. While a growth mindset is not just about effort, the ability to apply yourself to something, even when it is hard, is part of learning to overcome challenges.
9. Remind your children that success comes in many forms. While sometimes success looks like “winning,” other times, it looks like finishing, even if it is in last place. There are lots of ways to be successful in life, and they need to see examples of many of these from an early age.