Back-To-School: Fostering a Growth Mindset

Back-To-School: Fostering a Growth Mindset

With the new school year approaching, take this time to set your kids up for a successful school year by getting them into the right mindset. As your kids enter the next grade level, they will inevitably face new challenges meant to push them to learn and grow. Unfortunately, not each challenge will be met with success on the first try. However, the key here is having the right mindset. When they approach this school year with a growth mindset, these daunting challenges like the next grade level of math or reading will no longer seem as frightening. 

Instead of being discouraged by these challenges, they'll learn to embrace the hardships and overcome them with a positive attitude and mindset. The right mindset can help them overcome any obstacle course in front of them. And guess what. The best part is that this mindset can carry on with them into every aspect of their lives, building them up into resilient individuals. Check out these 3 tips for fostering a growth mindset

Tip #1: The Untapped Power of "Yet"

As parents, one of the most common phrases we hear from our kids is, "I can't do it." Don't get us wrong. There's nothing wrong with not being able to do something on the first try. The issue with this phrase is that it limits our kid's potential. Next time when our kids say, "I can't do it," try adding a "yet" to the end of their sentence. When we cast the magic spell of "yet" onto these situations, our kids will discover that they have the potential to transform any stressful setback into a whole different ball game. 

With just those three letters, challenges suddenly seem less cut-and-dry and more like exciting opportunities to learn and get better at something new. Kids will quickly pick up the sense that they can pick up just about anything as long as they aren't afraid to make mistakes - and the truth is, they really can! Making mistakes is an essential part of the learning curve. But "yet" is the boost that they need to help see over the top of it, and to understand that messing up can often be the most rewarding part of the process. 

Try this out:

Next time your kid says: "I can't do it!" 

Respond with: "Yet. I can't do it yet!" 

    Tip #2: Praise efforts NOT abilities

    Before you jump at every chance there is to compliment your kid with "good job," we encourage you to stop and think about it. Though these compliments are meant to motivate our kids, what appears harmless might actually send them the wrong message. No we're not saying that it's not okay to give your kids compliments, rather, there is a correct way to do it that doesn't involve pushing them to develop a fixed mindset. 

    Take this common phrase as an example "Wow, you got 100% on that spelling test? You're so smart!" When first looking at that statement, you might see it as a positive compliment that boosts your kid's self-esteem, However, look closely and you'll find another hidden message that numerous kids end up hearing and learning over time. Though they might feel proud and confident in themselves during these moments of success, what about those inevitable moments when they encounter setbacks? 

    Kids who constantly hear compliments praising their talents end up adopting a thought process of it I don't score 100% on that spelling test, them I'm no longer considered smart. To avoid sending the wrong message to your kids and unintentionally causing them to adopt a fixed mindset, try focusing your compliments on their effort rather than their talents. Adjusting the focus of your compliments also reinforces your little ones' hard work, as your compliments suggest that their success comes from their hard work rather than talent. 

    Pro Tip: Instead of "You learned that so quickly! You are so smart!" 

    Try: "Wow that was such a difficult task and you never gave up!" 

      Tip #3: Celebrate failures

      Create opportunities for your kids to step out of their comfort zone and try something challenging. Make sure you celebrate their failures as much as you celebrate their successes. When we accept failure and celebrate them as a part of the process, our kids will be encouraged to never give up. They'll learn that failure is a process to learning and learn to stand back up and try again. Make sure you are there for your kids during both their successes and failures. 

      Pro Tip: Instead of saying "don't worry, you'll get it next time." 

      Try: "I know you must be frustrated that you couldn't solve that puzzle. It's difficult isn't it? But you know what, I am very proud of you for not giving up just because it is hard.  Why don't you tell me what happened and let's think about what we can do instead to try to figure it out."

        DIY Instant Ice Science Experiment

        The concept of growth mindset might be difficult for kids to grasp. Try out this instant ice science experiment to help your kids visualize the power of a growth mindset. 

        Step-By-Step Instructions

          How to Respond to Failures

          Additional Parenting Resources:

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