A growth mindset is about believing that everything is achievable with hard work and perseverance.
Many times we hear our kids say ” I am not good enough”, “this is too difficult”, “I can’t do this”, ” I am going to fail”. Those statements are common among children. However, they can have a damaging effect.
By changing the words they say to themselves about a task or challenge, we are able to shift their mindset from a negative to a positive one.
Using the growth mindset techniques children will gain self-esteem and will accept challenges with confidence.
In this blog, we will explore the following:
- Growth mindset definition
- Difference between fixed mindset and growth mindset
- Importance of growth mindset in children
- Growth mindset activities
- How to help children develop a growth mindset?
- Growth mindset quotes
- Understanding the power of yet.
Growth mindset definition:
It is the belief that anything is possible and intelligence is gained through hard work and perseverance.
Children that have a growth mindset will embrace challenges and not be afraid to fail. They are able to differentiate between failing and learning opportunities.
Instead of using the word” fail”, they see it as a learning opportunity to expand their knowledge and be better at the task the next time.
With a positive attitude and efforts, they will shift their thinking from “I can’t do this”, to “I will try”.
Don’t forget to check out the Growth mindset activities kit
Difference between fixed mindset and growth mindset:
People that have a fixed mindset believe that their capabilities cannot be expanded and nothing about themselves can be changed.
For example, a child that believes he is not good with numbers will continue believing that he will always fail in maths. Hence, there is no point in studying maths.
A person that has a fixed mindset also belief that talent comes naturally and cannot be acquired through learning and effort.
They strongly believe that personality and creativity is something that you are born with and cannot be acquired or developed.
Also, someone that has a fixed mindset expects results immediately. The process of getting to the results does not matter as long as the outcome is achieved.
This is in contrast with a growth mindset that sees opportunities to improve in every situation.
A person that has a growth mindset believes in themselves and does not make excuses when they are unable to complete a task. Instead, they see it as a challenge they are willing to overcome.
When a child has a growth mindset they will never make excuses or avoid doing things, rather they will do the task and find ways to improve.
When children are young it becomes easy to label them with something they are good or not good at. For example, a chil can be called sporty is he/she is good at running. But the same child can be called “weak” when they are not good at the studying side of things.
Labeling a child from a young age can carry them until adulthood and shape the decisions they make in life.
Instead of being labeled a child should be given the confidence to be good at everything by continuous learning and improvements.
Examples of growth mindset:
- I am ready to ask for help
- Progress takes time
- I like to learn new things
- Success needs effort
- I am inspired by others
Check out the screen-free challenge book for children that encourages growth mindset & mindfulness
Why is a growth mindset important?
It can affect the way we think about everything. For example, when we are faced with challenges, illness, or anything else. We will face those challenges with confidence.
It gives children the ability to cope during a difficult period. Instead of focusing on the negative of a situation, children will develop the ability to look for learning opportunities.
Having setbacks in life is inevitable, the crucial thing is how to deal with those setbacks.
People with a growth mindset view setbacks as a learning ground. They try harder to overcome the problems instead of dwelling in them.
How to develop a growth mindset?
Developing a growth mindset is something that can be achieved overnight. It is a process that takes time and effort.
It is about changing our behavior and attitude towards our surroundings.
Dweck pointed out that praising your child is the first step in developing a growth mindset. This is not the normal praise we give our child after completing a task.
The praise here focuses on their effort of trying and the process of learning.
It is about recognising the child’s willingness to try something new regardless of the outcome.
For example: “You done so well for trying to do that, it is amazing how hard you tried, well done!” instead of saying “Good job, I know you are brilliant”.
The goal is to praise the process and not the abilities.
It is also important to praise the effort because a child should understand that by using different strategies they can overcome an obstacle.
This encourages a child to be creative in their thinking process and not letting them use the same strategies that resulted in the initially failed outcome.
It also shows them they should use all the resources they have and never hesitate from asking for help.
Dweck also pointed out that failure should be addressed as part of learning.
Instead of focusing on the failure, we should ask a child to point out what they have learned from that experience and how they can do it better next time.
It is also a reminder that “failing” is part of the learning process and in order to be successful everyone has to go through that process.
It switches their mindset from not being able to do something to how they can do it better next time.
Understanding the power of yet
Many times when a child can’t do a task, we just need to add the word “yet” at the end of that sentence.
The power of “yet” lies in its ability to transform your mindset from not being able to do something to amplifying the power of learning.
By using “yet” we are showing children that everything requires process and learning. The focus is not the end result but rather the journey of acquiring knowledge.
This also tells children that not everything is about grades, but rather they should have the power to dream big.
They should be encouraged to do different things in life and not just focus on achieving high grades in school.
The power of “yet” is coined by Dweck. Through extensive research, she found that by using growth mindset techniques children did better in school and achieved higher grades than before.
It is important to note that a growth mindset is not something that can be learned overnight. It is a process that takes time and effort.
Growth Mindset Activities:
We have developed the personalized growth mindset kit that encourages children to face challenges with confidence.
The kit is personalized with your children’s name as there is nothing more powerful than seeing their name on a poster or activity.
Here are some of the fun and challenging growth mindset activities:
1. Things you can’t do YET
This is a great way to start introducing the concept of growth mindset to children.
It helps them make that mental shift by altering the way they speak to themselves.
Writing down things you can’t do yet on one side of the paper.
On the opposite side write down what you can do to be good at that thing.
To make it even more fun , you can get children to write down what they feel about the things they can’t do.
Then get them to write what is causing them to feel that way.
Many times the things we think we can’t do is just our negative inner voice. Once we write them down and let it go we can achieve everything that we want.
Here are some simple negative statements children tend to write:
- “I am not smart enough”
- “People will laugh at me”
- ” I am not creative”
Use the growth mindset kit below to help children recognize their potential
2. Famous Fails
There is nothing as motivating as stories of “from grass to grace,” particularly from famous people.
Our history is full of such examples. Discovering who these people are and how they overcame challenges to succeed can be inspiring stories for young kids.
When your child identifies with someone they respect, they will be more willing to work hard to overcome their own challenges.
Read about the famous failure stories in the growth mindset kit. Make this as part of your child’s weekly reading.
Don’t forget to check out the famous failure stories.
3. The kindness challenge
Part of building strong mental health is to have a sense of purpose. The best way to give this to a child is to make them feel part of something more important than themselves.
Encourage them to be part of a volunteering group of local community work where they can share their skills and talent.
You can get them to brainstorm different ideas on how they can contribute. Here are some examples:
- Delivering food to the needy
- Volunteering in shelter homes
- Cleaning the local neighborhood
- Cooking a meal for a homeless person
Kindness can take your child a long way in life. It helps them develop a sense of empathy.
It is also nice to remind them of the kindness they have done.
For example, you can use the growth mindset kit printables below and get them to write down all the kind things they have done recently.
Writing it down will also motivate them to want to do more as they would like to see the pages in their book filled up with all the kind things they shared with others.
Use the activities below to help children with the kindness children
4. Express feelings
Having a growth mindset means being able to seek help when needed.
Sometimes children may not know how to express what they are feeling. They can go into a silent mode
Help them stay calm and think through things. Also, allow them to channel their emotions to you. Let them know that you will always be available to listen to them.
Do not criticise your child over what they are feeling. Whether it’s positive or negative let them express it healthily to you.
If you ever find them feeling sad or upset then have a list of things you can do to help them feel better. Below are a few examples you can print and use as a reminder from the growth mindset kit.
Journaling is another way to get kids to express their feelings. Use the journal kit made for kids which will help them doodle their feelings using prompts.
If your child is going through some anxiety then get them to write down what is worrying them. You can use the practice sheet below.
Related: Children anxiety guide.
Check out the anxiety kit below to help children talk about their feelings
5. Finding a purpose
Even children need to feel valued and loved.
As a parent or teacher, you play an important role in their lives- it is up to you to help them feel secure to build their confidence.
It is important for a child to feel like they are special and what they do matters to others.
You can use the activity sheet below to help children understand how special they are.
Finally, before you go don’t forget to check this out
The growth-mindset kit made to help kids discover challenges with confidence.
packed with amazing worksheets, including ways to manage anxiety and helping children develop positive habits.