Continuing from where we left off, we would like to add more to the ways we can nurture a growth mindset in our kids.
3. Catch them being persistent
Any time you see them putting in the effort, working hard towards a goal, or being persistent, acknowledge it. It doesn’t mean you have to gush with praise every time they apply themselves, but it will mean a lot to them that you notice. ‘You’re working hard at that aren’t you.’
4. Be specific with praise
Attach your praise to something specific. Rather than ‘You’re really smart,’ try ‘It was really clever the way you experimented with a few different ways to solve that problem. Nice work!’
5. Encourage a healthy attitude to failure and challenge
Speak of failure and challenge in terms of them being an opportunity to learn and grow.
6. Use the word ‘yet’, and use it often
When they say ‘I don’t know how to do it,’ encourage them to replace this with, ‘I don’t know how to do it yet.’ Keep doing this and soon they will learn to do this for themselves. Self-talk is a powerful thing.
7. Show them they don’t always have to be successful to be okay
Kids don’t learn what they’re told, they learn what they see. Let them see when you hit a snag (when it’s appropriate of course) and let them see you being okay with that. Talk about the things you learn when something doesn’t quite go as planned.
If you take a wrong turn, for example, point out the interesting things you notice now that you’re on a different road. Failure is part of learning and has absolutely nothing at all to do with how clever or capable they are. It’s an opportunity to learn, in disguise.
8. Encourage them to keep the big picture in mind
It’s where they end up that matters. The stumbles on the way are just part of the learning and the way there. Learning takes time and the path won’t be straight – it will be crooked and interesting and full of great opportunities, exactly as it was meant to be.
9. When they do well without effort
For a student who does really well without putting in any effort, it’s still important to hold back from making it all about how clever or capable they are. Instead, Dweck suggests trying, ‘Ok. That was too easy for you. Let’s see if there’s something more challenging that you can learn from.’
10. And when they put in the effort, but don’t do so well…
If they’ve worked hard but haven’t achieved what they wanted, notice the effort. This will nurture their confidence, resilience, and motivation to keep learning and working hard. ‘I loved seeing the effort you put into that assignment. Let’s see what you can learn from for next time.’
11. Give permission to fail
Take the anxiety out of learning and put back the love. Giving kids permission to get it wrong sometimes will broaden their willingness to take risks and experiment with better ways of doing things. This will expand their creativity, problem-solving, and readiness to embrace the challenge.
Intelligence is not fixed and can be flourished with time and effort. Nurturing this belief in children is one of the greatest things we, as the adults in their lives, can do to help lift them so they can reach their full potential. The effort will come from them, but it’s important that we do what we can to have them believe that the effort will be worth it.
Originally posted on MOTHERLY