How To Instil A Growth Mindset In Your Child

Guest Post by Build a Biz Kids

A growth mindset sounds like something we should all have. If someone asked me, “Do you have a growth mindset?” Of course, I would say yes, I do. To not have one would make me feel like I’m bad in some way. But do I? And even more so, am I giving one to my child?

There’s a lot to unpack in those questions, but first I want to share that, yes you do have a growth mindset, but you also do not. That goes for everyone because mindset is on a spectrum.

growth mindset

First, let’s start with defining growth mindset and fixed mindset.

A growth mindset is the understanding that your abilities are something you can improve through practice, and that ‘failures’ are a chance to learn. On the contrary, a fixed mindset is the belief that your abilities are stagnant, and that ‘failure’ is permanent (Dweck, 2015).

Think of something that you’ve tried and failed. Maybe you cooked dinner and the meat was overdone. How did you feel? Did you say to yourself, “Again? Wow, I’m a bad cook!” or did you say, “Oh, I thought it was supposed to cook for 40min. Next time I’ll try 30 and see how that works.”

The first self talk is telling yourself that you are a bad cook and your cooking ability is ‘fixed’. The second has detached itself from the failure. You didn’t fail, the method you tried did. With new focus and practice, you can get better.

How To Model A Growth Mindset

Children are sponges, and you are their biggest role model. It’s important to demonstrate a healthy relationship with challenges. To do this, we need to remove the emphasis on celebrating successes, and place the value on your effort and progress instead. This can be done by changing your language. For example:

  • “I’m not very good at baking cakes.” can be changed to “I’m excited to learn this a new recipe!”
  • “I can’t help you with your math. I don’t know how.”  can be changed to “I haven’t learned that kind of math yet. Let’s learn it together!”
  • “I totally failed. I don’t know why I try.” can be changed to “That didn’t work. I will try a different method next time.”

growth mindset

Instilling A Growth Mindset In Your Kids

Just as your own self talk will rub off on your kids, so will the types of praise you give to your children.

I want to stop here before sharing these next tips. Parents, this takes practice. To do this, you will be rewriting your own fixed mindsets and breaking habits that you adopted as kids yourselves. This will take time, but it will be SO worth it. Be patient with yourself.

growth mindset

Back to it.

There are predictable moments in our children’s lives where praise will be expected. After a dance recital, a sports practice, report card day, and so on. These are moments to stop and prepare so your growth talk can roll off your tongue.

  • “You won! You’re awesome!”  can be changed to  “I am so amazed at how hard you worked for this.”
  • “You’re a natural!” can be changed to “I love how you are giving it all of your effort right from the start.”
  • “It’s ok. You will get it right next time.” can be changed to “What can you do differently next time?”

Each statement probably feels really different, but there’s more to it. One is praising the child’s end results while the second is praising their process. That’s the key!

Use predictable moments to create new habits & radically change your child’s approach to everything they encounter. In the process, you just might see some incredible results in yourself as well.

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