Tips on How to Develop Growth Mindset in Children

What did you learn today? What mistake did you make that taught you something? What did you try hard at today?  These are some questions that give emphasis to a growth mindset.

Showing children that you value effort, are motivated by challenges, and see mistakes as learning opportunities will go a long way in fostering a growth mindset!

Carol Dweck, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, coined the phrase ‘growth mindset.’ A growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be developed through effort and practice. Children with a growth mindset persist in challenges because they understand that hard work and effort can change their ability and intelligence.

A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence cannot be changed. A child with a fixed mindset might believe that success comes from talents that only some people are born with. People with a fixed mindset tend to give up easily when they come across difficulties because they believe that they don’t have what it takes to learn hard things. The side effect of the fixed mindset is a resistant attitude toward effort — especially when it comes to challenging tasks.

Parents often wonder what they can do and say to move their child’s mindset from fixed to growth. The good news is that mindsets can change, and there are strategies you can use to see a big difference in your child’s challenge-accepting behavior.

•Consider being aware of mindset messages we send with words and actions. Talk about the emotions that come with struggles to help steer future frustration towards perseverance.

•Praise the process, effort, and strategies: Praising kids for being “smart” suggests that natural talent is the reason for success, while focusing on the process helps them see how their effort leads to success.

•Use the power of YET: When our children experience a setback or failure, we should frame it in a way that promotes perseverance. If they’re frustrated, start by expressing empathy. Then, we can re-frame the setback by adding the word yet. Instead of, “I’m not good at multiplication,” say, “I’m not good at multiplication yet!”

•Model accepting mistakes as learning opportunities: When parents talk positively about making mistakes, kids start to think of mistakes as a natural part of the learning process.

Some of the best thing parents can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. Children will not be dependent on praise from others because they will have the mindset to shape and build their own confidence.

No matter how old you are or what job you have, it is important to never stop growing and learning. Possessing a growth mindset creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for achieving goals. The Copper Country ISD helps to foster a growth mindset in all of our local educators, students, and families. The ISD values the continues learning process and offers a wide range of professional learning opportunities for educators to continue their lifelong learning journey and to never stop growing.

George Stockero Jr. is superintendent of the Copper Country Intermediate School District.