16 Mar How Do You Teach Growth Mindset to Your Kids
“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
Children’s bodies may grow naturally, but this does not necessarily apply to their minds and emotions. This is why they need to be taught a growth mindset.
A study published in Nature noted how having a growth mindset basically mimics the development of muscles when exercising. Only this time, it is the mind that grows and expands.
Based on the results of the research, it can be concluded that children who are taught that they can train themselves to become better will inevitably be better.
As such, it is important to point out that a growth mindset for kids is necessary to help secure a successful future for them.
What is a Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is basically about believing that there is potential in you and that as long as you are willing to put in the effort, you can get better at anything.
Different people have varying levels of expectations when it comes to this kind of mindset. Some impose limitations on some areas while others believe that there is absolutely no ceiling.
What they all have in common is that there is always a path forward and to improve as they go.
On that note, it is also important to correct a few misunderstandings regarding the growth mindset. For starters, Dr. Carol Dweck stresses that it is also about being willing to adjust as the needs arise.
“Certainly, effort is key for students’ achievement, but it’s not the only thing. Students need to try new strategies and seek input from others when they’re stuck. They need this repertoire of approaches—not just sheer effort—to learn and improve,” she notes.
Don’t worry, though, since this is not as difficult as it may appear. As long as you apply the right methods for teaching a growth mindset to kids, the rest should take care of itself.
Why Teach Growth Mindsets to Children?
With the details already revealed about growth mindset, it should already be clear why it would be beneficial to teach children how to cultivate this particular trait.
Firstly, it is meant to teach them what the concept actually rather than have a mistaken notion about what growth mindset means. Dr. Dweck actually wrote a piece about this for Harvard Business Review, where she explains what growth mindset is and is not.
“People often confuse a growth mindset with being flexible or open-minded or with having a positive outlook — qualities they believe they’ve simply always had. My colleagues and I call this a false growth mindset,” she writes.
Secondly, teaching children how they actually have the capability to improve beyond their current limitations allows them to progress faster and with fewer delays.
For the most common benefits of having a growth mindset, you can refer to the following:
- Accepting flaws
- Seeing opportunities in challenges
- Being flexible in methods and tactics
- Learning better from mistakes
- Responding well to constructive criticisms
- Becoming more resilient
- Not fearing risks
Those are the advantages that come with teaching your child growth mindset and they will be useful in his adult life.
Growth Mindset Vs. Fixed Mindset
In order to better understand the growth mindset, there must first be an understanding of a fixed mindset. Regarding the latter, it hinges on the thinking that people either have what it takes to succeed or they don’t.
This can be applied to pretty much anything, including school, sports, or play. This is basically where children are shackled by such concepts as innate talent or luck.
As you can see, this is the opposite of a growth mindset where every failure is an opportunity, every challenge is to be met with excitement, and every obstacle overcome.
How to Teach Growth Mindset?
On the matter of teaching children growth mindset, there are a few methods that work like a charm:
Encouraging Failure – Children are naturally inclined to fear failure, so you must teach your child to not be afraid of it but rather, to embrace it.
Failure is an incredibly important aspect of learning, but only if your child knows this fact. He will still feel bad about it, but he won’t be scared of making mistakes.
Allowing Experimentation – Letting your child test several solutions to problems in his own way is a great method for helping him develop a growth mindset.
By experimenting a bit with his task, not only will the activity be more fun and interesting, but he will also be less likely to find it annoying.
Changing Problem-Solving Approach – When it comes to solving problems, people tend to be rigid, no matter whether they are children or adults.
While teaching your child about a growth mindset, you can also teach him how to handle difficult problems productively.
To start with, you can tell him to first examine the problem from every angle before trying to solve it. When he does start and is still unable to find the solution, tell him to repeat the process until he does.
This will help him become more flexible in his approach and allows him to come up with different possible solutions to one problem.
Examining Mistakes – People make mistakes and this is just as true with adults as it is with children. As such, it is important to acknowledge them and try to learn from them.
In the case of your child, you need to encourage him to not only open up about the mistakes he made in any context but to also examine what led to the mistake. Most importantly, though, is to determine what made the mistake a mistake.
Reward Achievements – Finally, you need to reward your child’s achievements, especially those that he worked really hard for.
This is to not only make him more motivated to achieve even greater things but will also help him trust in your ability to judge his capabilities. After all, you gave him a reward, so you must approve of what he did and how he handles responsibilities.