[Discover how to nurture a growth mindset for kids so that you can empower your children and help them thrive!]
My daughters love to color, draw, and craft.
The other morning I found them drawing at the kitchen table when I heard four words that broke my heart.
“I can't do this.” I walked over to her and put my arm around her. She had been trying to draw a bunny, but it wasn't turning out as she hoped.
I saw her face drop into a frown. I could feel her defeat in the moment.
I walked over and put my arm around her. We took some deep breaths together and did a little self care pause.
Once she had reconnected with herself, she smiled up at me and we talked about how learning anything new takes practice.
Growth Mindset for Kids
That's when we reframed her sentence to include one incredibly powerful word.
“I can't do this.” –> “I can't do this, YET.”
That one little word, “YET”, opened up a world of possibility.
We kept talking about it and she came up with a sentence that felt even more empowering to her. “I am learning how to draw.”
“I can't do this.” has a finality about it. It doesn't help open you up to possibility and growth.
That's the difference between having a fixed mindset and nurturing a growth mindset.
What is a Growth Mindset?
In her book Mindset, Carol Dweck Ph.D. teaches that a growth mindset is when a person believes that they have the ability to increase their intelligence and learn new skills through practice and effort.
Studies show that the promotion of a growth mindset can guide students to understand that they can strengthen their intelligence and continue to learn if they so choose.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
Here are some ways to recognize the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset:
- Approaching challenges in life as growth opportunities (Growth Mindset) vs seeing every challenge as a problem (Fixed Mindset)
- Knowing that with practice you can learn a new skill (Growth Mindset) vs thinking your intelligence is what it is, and cannot be improved
- Becoming aware of negative self talk so you can choose more empowering messages (Growth Mindset) vs holding yourself back through reinforced limiting thoughts and beliefs (Fixed Mindset)
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What are the Benefits of Nurturing a Growth Mindset in Your Children?
When you nurture a growth mindset in your kids, you help to:
- foster a sense of empowerment.
- give them the tools to know they have the ability to learn and grow.
- give them the gift of resiliency.
- see the world with open-mindedness.
- embody a love of learning.
16 Ways to Teach Growth Mindset to Kids
Here are 16 ways to build a growth mindset in your kids so you can raise resilient, happy, and thriving kids!
- Discuss Growth Mindset – Talk with your children about how their brains can get stronger. Just like the other muscles in our body when we use them and practice new skills we grow mentally.
- Encourage Curiosity and a “Beginner's Mind” – Encourage your kids to share their ideas and theories. Trying new ways of doing things, spending time in nature, and allowing time for curiosity and creativity can help to foster a curious and adventurous spirit in your child.
- Lead by Example – When you take time to do the inner work and build your own growth mindset you are setting the example and showing the possibilities that accompany this mindset shift.
- Encourage Effort – Instead of praising natural talent or ability, shift to noticing the effort your child is putting into the learning process. Talk about how much they're improving through practice. Here's some inspiration for how to encourage effort so you can nurture a growth mindset in your child: “I can see all of the effort you are putting in.” “Wow, you've practiced a lot!” “Look how much you've learned since you started practicing!”
- Use the Power of the Word “Yet” – The word yet is a powerful tool when it comes to fostering growth mindset for kids. Instead of saying “I can't do this.” Help your child shift to adding the word “yet” to the end of the sentence. “I can't do this yet.”
- Practice Self Care – Self care is important for everyone. When you practice self care you are caring for your needs so that you can thrive. When your needs go unmet you end up overwhelmed and living in survival mode. This is true for your kids too. Taking time to tune and in care for your needs is a great way to be able to easily get into the growth mindset.
- Incorporate Imaginative Play – Put away screens and allow time to let your imaginations flow. When you allow yourself to tap into your imagination you are creating space for new ideas inspiration and growth.
- Tap into the Power of the Breath – Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your days is a great way to build awareness around thoughts and find equanimity. Teaching simple breathing techniques can help you to bring more mindfulness into your day with your kids.
- Question Negative Thoughts and Self Limiting Beliefs – When you hear your child saying things like “I can't do this.” Take some time to talk with them about whether that thought is actually true. When you take time to look deeper at your negative belief you will often find that you can't prove them to be true. This is a simple and empowering practice that will help to strengthen growth mindset in your home.
- Practice Gratitude – Gratitude is an incredibly powerful practice. When we take time to look for things to be thankful for we begin to see the world as a beautiful place full of opportunity. Incorporating gratitude activities into daily life is a great way to strengthen the growth mindset for kids.
- Embrace Imperfection – Mistakes are learning points – Stepping stones
- Allow for open communication around feelings – We are often taught to set our feelings aside. Being able to notice and process your feelings can help guide you through the challenges of life in a gentle and loving way.
- Read Empowering Growth Mindset Books for Kids – Surrounding yourself with empowering messages helps to instill the perspective of a growth mindset for kids into everyday life.
- Find Opportunities in Challenges – Life is going to challenge us. Having a growth mindset means being able to see the gifts and growth opportunities in the challenges.
- Incorporate Empowering Affirmations –
- Use Growth Mindset Tools and Resources – Having resources, videos, and more to help immerse your family into the growth mindset is a beautiful gift that will help you raise resilient children.
Discover growth mindset resources that will help you to effortlessly bring growth mindset into your home or classroom so you can help raise resilient happy kids!
This amazing bundle is full of resources including activities, posters, and journaling pages that will help guide you to foster a growth mindset in your children in a simple and fun way!
This this growth mindset journal for children helps kids discover how to believe in themselves and face challenges with confidence.
This journal for kids ages 11 and up helps to nurture a growth mindset in teens and tweens. Helping them to practice gratitude, and empower them to grow into resilient adults.
Get the book Mindset by Carol Dweck. This ultimate guide to growth mindset will help you learn all about growth mindset so that you can bring the practices into your own life and lead by example.
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