This month our focus is to build a growth mindset. To briefly summarize, in a fixed mindset we believe that our intelligence and talent are something we are born with and can’t change. This leads us to the false assumption that talent alone, without hard work, will lead to success. Extensive research has shown that children with this mindset give up easily and often avoid challenges.
GROWTH MINDSET TIP #1 – Praise Your Child For Effort Instead of Talent
To support the growth mindset of our SJPII community, please give praise freely for these growth mindset builders:
● Things accomplished through practice: studying, use of effective strategies, perseverance, and concentration.
● Choosing challenging projects.
● Trying different strategies.
● Making improvement.
GROWTH MINDSET TIP #2 – Be Honest With Your Children
Tell your child the truth gently. Give them honest constructive feedback about their performance and avoid externalizing the loss or sugar coating. Help them think about what tools will help them succeed where they are struggling.
Keep these principles in mind when talking to your child about failures:
● Be empathetic but tell them the truth
● Don’t externalize the loss
● Don’t let them rely on ability alone, hard work is needed for mastery
● Help them recognize what can and cannot control i.e., Their attitude vs the refs decision
● Focus on improving something and areas of potential growth
● Don’t judge, we are all learning
GROWTH MINDSET TIP #3 – Help Your Child Recognize Their Fixed Mindset Voice
The story we tell ourselves is a choice. By recognizing and acknowledging when we are using self-defeating and fixed self-talk, we can start to choose a growth mindset voice instead.
Here are some fixed mindset statements and alternatives we can choose:
GROWTH MINDSET TIP #4 – Build In Time For Regular Self Reflection
Reflecting regularly on what we have learned both from our successes and failures is a great way to improve the growth mindset.
Here are some examples:
Great things today:
I have committed to exercising more and I made it to the gym today.
I said something nice instead of negative about a friend I have been struggling with.
I focused in math class instead of getting distracted by my friends.
Making a bit more time in the evening to prep a healthy lunch instead of choosing fast food.
Working on scheduling my day better tomorrow so that I don’t leave my homework until the last minute.
GROWTH MINDSET TIP #5 – Model a growth mindset
Don’t just say the words, be the change that inspires them.
GROWTH MINDSET TIP #6 – Give kids a chance to step out into the rain, take risks and fail
Children will live a great deal of life under their parents’ umbrella of protection, but over time they need to build their own and this starts with an environment that allows them to step out of their comfort zone. It’s okay to feel stress and to fail, in fact it’s how we build grit, a characteristic strongly associated with success. However, in a society that seems to worship success, building grit can be daunting. Grit is our ability to face failures and carry on, our perseverance and passion for our goals.
See this blog for a more detailed look at coaching children through the challenges of building a growth mindset: https://umbrellaproject.co/category/growth-mindset/
Health and happiness,
Dr. Jen Forristal
Founder of the Umbrella Project