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5 Ways To Teach Children Growth Mindset

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Importance of Mindset:

Our mind is one of the most powerful muscles in our body. It literally changes how we perceive the world, and this controls whether it is a place of inspiration or a place of chaos.

A growth mindset is a belief that our intelligence and abilities can be improved with effort and the right strategies. A fixed mindset is a belief that our intelligence and abilities are more or less stable and unchangeable.

Having a growth mindset is crucial to achieving greatness in school and in life. There are significant benefits with just a simple shift in mindset. By understanding the importance of how mindset can affect your child’s thinking and decision-making, parents play a pivotal role in teaching and inculcating a growth mindset in their children at a young age.

In this article, we will share 5 ways you can help your child to build a growth mindset.

1) Recognize Effort Over Success

We often focus on the result when we should be more interested in the path towards the results, and the behaviors and habits that are performed consistently over time to allow the individual to achieve and sustain high levels of success.

Rather than focusing your attention on the times when your child achieves success, make it a point to recognize and acknowledge the times when they put in the effort and hard word into what they are doing.

Who we become on the adventure to reaching our goal is the real treasure.

By recognizing your child’s efforts regardless of winning or losing, your child will understand that what matters most is their effort. In doing so, this recognition promotes an internal sense of self-efficacy whereby they will believe that successes are due to the level of effort (can control) instead of their innate talent or skill (can’t control).

Not only is recognizing effort helpful for children who struggle, but also for children who can achieve success easily. This will encourage children to continue challenging themselves and try to be better.

For example, there are 2 types of praise – people praise and process praise.

Instead of praising your child for permanent characteristics (“You are very smart and intelligent”), try praising the effort they put into working or solving a problem (“You worked really hard to solve that problem”).

Research conducted by Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor, studied the effects of praises parents used on their children. In collaboration with researchers from the University of Chicago, they looked at how mothers praised their babies at 1,2 and 3 years old and found that “process praise predicted the child’s success in school and desire for challenge five years later.” “The more they had a growth mindset in 2nd grade, the better they did in 4th grade, and the relationship was significant.”

Bottom line: Praise effort over outcome.

2) Teach Children The Power Of “Yet”

The simple 3 letter word that successful people use every day.

Can the secret to building a growth mindset be summed up in a 3-letter word?

Fixed mind setters think or say things like:

  • “I can’t tie my shoes.”
  • “I can’t ride a bike.”
  • “I can’t read.”
  • “I’m not good at making new friends.”

Have you heard your child saying these sentences or something similar? It is as if they are feeling frustrated, disappointed, angry, and hopeless.

On the other hand, growth mind setters simply tag on the word “yet” at the end of those sentences:

  • “I can’t tie my shoes yet.”
  • “I can’t ride a bike yet.”
  • “I can’t read yet.”
  • “I’m not good at making new friends yet.”

It’s a simple word that represents a fundamental shift in mindset.

Using the word “yet” reminds us that we’re not perfect, that we’re a work-in-progress.

When you hear your child saying such a phrase, add on the word “YET” to the end of their sentence. Tell them that it is still a work-in-progress. Life is a journey of learning and growing. We’re not there. YET.

It’s more hopeful, more optimistic, and so much more encouraging!

3) Celebrate Mistakes And Struggles

Mistakes are inevitable, if you want your child to grow then mistakes are the fastest way forward. This is how informed decisions are born, from previous misinformed decisions and life experiences.

Let your child fail and make mistakes!

It is hard to watch your child fail. After all, why would you want to do that when you can help them succeed?

Making mistakes is how we learn and become better.

Instead of teaching your child to fear mistakes or scold them for doing something wrong, try to celebrate mistakes through guided reflection and questions.

These are some questions that you can ask your child instead:

  • What was difficult today?
  • What did you work hard on?
  • What mistakes did you make today?
  • What did you learn from it?
  • How can we do things differently next time to improve?

Let your child reflect and think for himself/herself. Reflecting on mistakes made can be productive and offers valuable life lessons.

4) Negative And Positive Self-Talk

Our mind is a powerful tool; therefore, we must pay attention to our thoughts. If your child is thinking and saying that it can’t or won’t happen, then your child is missing out on being the very best person that they can be.

When you catch your child saying something self-limiting like “I am not able”, “I never”, “I can’t”, or “I doubt” then you need to take a moment and course correct. To do this, replace the negative with its positive thought. Recognize the negative thoughts and move it in the other direction by using phrases like, “I am able”, “I always”, “I can”, “I know”.

Talk to your child about their “inner voice” and how it sometimes tells them things that aren’t always helpful. Teach them to challenge those negative inner statements with more positive alternatives.

5) Model Growth Mindset Behaviour

The environment inevitably affects how your child thinks. What they see and hear on a daily basis, they will learn from it consciously or sub-consciously. Children look up to their parents as role models and learn much of the behavior and attitudes from observing people in their lives. If you show signs of laziness, chances are, your child will start acting and behaving in the same way as you. They will perceive that as normal and it is perfectly okay since you are doing it as well.

If you want your child to build a growth mindset, then you have to show them through your actions. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words. No matter what you tell your child, the best way to teach and build a growth mindset is to work on developing your own first.

Let your child see you:

  • Trying to learn something new
  • Persisting with a difficult task
  • Making mistakes and experiencing struggles
  • Taking on challenges enthusiastically
  • Meeting failures with a renewed effort to succeed

And Finally…

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” —Henry Ford

Growth takes commitment and effort. Nurturing and building a growth mindset in children is one of the best things adults can do to help them achieve and reach their full potential. What we can do is to constantly support and encourage children to embark on their growth journey.

Key Takeaways

  1. Recognize Effort Over Success
  2. Teach Children The Power Of “Yet”
  3. Celebrate Mistakes And Struggles
  4. Negative And Positive Self-Talk
  5. Model Growth Mindset Behaviour

SGtutoring offers English, Math & Science (Primary & Secondary level) academics programs. Learn and be mentored by competent undergraduates from NUS, NTU & SMU through 1-1 home tuition and group sessions in Singapore. Online session during Circuit Breaker.

Our lessons will help your child to develop study plans, execute key examination strategies and techniques, and learn the common questions and pitfalls. Curriculum and lesson materials are based on the MOE syllabus.

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