We’re all born with different abilities—some people are better at certain things than others. As we develop, we experience these differences in one of two mindsets: the fixed mindset or the growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities and abilities are fixed at birth—experiencing setbacks and challenges means a lack of talent or ability. With a growth mindset, people believe that their abilities and skills are developed through perseverance—setbacks and challenges are an opportunity to grow! Click here to learn more about the basics of the growth mindset.
Why is using a growth mindset better? Imagine going through the world, failing at things, and just being done with whatever challenge we’ve attempted. If we didn’t succeed, everything has gone to waste. In a growth mindset, the outcomes of challenges aren’t as important because it’s the experience that’s more important. More experiences means more opportunities to try again and to improve. We might not be the best at something, at least not yet.
Helping your kids (and yourself) to adapt this mindset will encourage them to be much more kind to themselves when they approach new challenges and can prevent a fear of failure. If there’s always room for improvement, there’s much less risk of attempting perfection.
How can I teach my kids about growth mindsets? It’s important to remember that this mindset isn’t something that is achieved overnight. One easy way to encourage the growth mindset is to work on positive self-talk! When your kids can speak kindly to themselves, they’re much more likely to keep that attitude and behavior up throughout the day.
Another way to encourage growth mindsets is to set goals as a group or as a family. The goals can be big or small, but helping your kids achieve their goals gives them practice in approaching challenges with an open mind. You’ll watch their self-confidence soar and their growth mindsets blossom as they crush their goals and work to set new ones.
Now what about the days when they’re having a hard time being kind to themselves? First of all, let them know that it’s totally normal to feel the way they do. Not every day will be the best day ever. When these days come around, help them apply the growth mindset to their self-talk:
“I can’t do it…yet.”
“They’re doing better than I am…for now.”
“I don’t understand…yet, but I am learning more each day.”
The last tip to encouraging a growth mindset is practicing patience. It’s okay to struggle sometimes. If your kids are having a hard time, take a step back and breathe. Let them decide what they need for that day, and remember, it’s a growth mindset. They’re not experts at it…yet.
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