How to Promote a Growth Mindset in Children

How to Promote a Growth Mindset in Children

To encourage a growth mindset to kids, parents should praise their kids' effort instead of their talent / Photo by via Shutterstock


Every one of us has beliefs about our own potential and abilities. This forms part of our mindset, which will help us decide on the actions that we will take or not take over the years. Stanford University’s Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology Carol Dweck said that there are two types of mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. 


Fixed mindset vs. growth mindset

People with a fixed mindset believe that their basic qualities, such as talent and intelligence, are fixed traits. Hence, their qualities cannot change but they just go through life documenting their talents and intelligence instead of improving or developing them. They also believe that with talent alone, it can lead them to success. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe that their intelligence and learning grow with experience and time. They believe that their abilities can be developed through hard work and dedication. 


How to promote a growth mindset

If you are a parent who wants your kid to have a growth mindset, here are some tips to promote it. 

Praise the effort instead of the talent

Early intervention specialist and classroom teacher Amanda Morin explained that to encourage a growth mindset to kids, parents should praise their kids' effort instead of their talent. For example, rather than saying they are really good in English or math, say that they have really worked hard for the subject to get such a high score. Moreover, recognizing your child’s effort will build their self-esteem. This kind of praise is the “process praise,” putting more emphasis on the steps that the child did to get the result. Another example is to say you are impressed by the effort they put in to complete the project.

Let them embrace the challenge

When given a choice between an easy task or a challenging task, a child with a fixed mindset will likely choose the first option. However, you can promote a growth mindset by allowing your kid to embrace the challenges they meet along the way. This way, the opportunity will push them beyond their capabilities and will help them grow. Although it may sometimes mean failing, at least they can see it as a learning opportunity to grow.

Acknowledge their persistence

As a parent, anytime you see your child putting in the amount of effort in a work or toward their goal, acknowledge such persistence. It does not necessarily mean praising the kid every time but just letting them know that you are noticing their work.

Regardless of how you are telling your children, the ideal way to teach them about a growth mindset is to model it to them / Photo by By ZouZou via Shutterstock


Tell them that their brains can grow and get stronger

Let your kid believe that their brains can grow and get stronger. Tell them also that they are capable of strengthening and teaching their brain. Telling kids that they have control over their brains through efforts and actions could be empowering because they will take an active participation in learning. The moment they realize and understand that their brains can physically change will lead them to increased achievement and motivation too. 

Motivate them to see the bigger picture

Regardless of what happens today, encourage them to see the bigger picture. This means that they may fail or stumble along the way toward their goal, but tell them that where they will end up is all that matters. Tell them that sometimes, the path may not be straight but there is also an opportunity for learning.

Give room for mistakes or failure

Remove the anxiety in them when it comes to learning and deposit joy and love by giving them room to make mistakes or fail sometimes. Let them realize that while they fail, they are also broadening their willingness to experiment and take risks. Soon, the experience expands their readiness, problem-solving skills, and creativity to embraces their challenges head-on.
Model growth mindset as a parent

Regardless of how you are telling your children, the ideal way to teach them about a growth mindset is to model it to them. This requires that you also develop a growth mindset because your child will observe your own life. If you are going through challenges, for instance, let your kid overhear you saying that you need to keep practicing and not just say that it is too difficult for you to handle. If possible, you can show to your kid that you struggle but that you are also using your failures as stepping stones for your own growth. 

Consider this magical word: yet

The word “yet” is a magical world. Instead of saying “I can’t do this,” approach the experience by saying “I can’t do this yet.” Soon, kids will learn to adopt the magical word in their lives and manifest it in their actions too. After all, self-talk is one of the most powerful hacks in the world. Scientists once estimated that people have about 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts every single day. It means that whenever we are thinking about something, it is already some form of self-talk. Rather than entertaining limiting beliefs, build mental toughness.