How to develop a growth mindset in your child
Since becoming a parent, I’ve tried to read up on whatever parenting information I can get my hands on.
As we all know, kids don’t come with an owner’s manual!
And trying to figure out what to do as a parent is sadly often based on a comparison. We often compare ourselves to other parents who are also just “faking it to make it.”
But, I lucked out when I picked up the book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” while I was on vacation.
I was turned on to the idea of promoting a “growth mindset” with my kids.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
"Fixed mindset" — those who believe that abilities are fixed
"Growth mindset” — those who believe that abilities can be developed.
You’ll see many websites now dedicated to promoting “grit” in children and this book seems to have kicked that idea into motion.
Looking back at my life, I definitely feel like I fell into the “fixed mindset” category where I stuck to my strengths and avoided difficult subjects.
I had a fear of “failing.”
Reading this book made me realize that I don’t want my kids to fall into that same trap. I want to teach my kids that failure is natural and it helps us learn.
Persistence is only developed through hard work and it is a lifelong skill that my wife and I hope to instill in our children.
This is one of the main inspirations for Blimey Box.
We want children to be frustrated and have to work hard to figure out difficult tasks.
We designed our treasure hunt escape games to promote a growth mindset for your child. That’s why we remind parents not to give answers when helping your children work through the puzzles.
Instead, we teach you to take more of a “Socratic method” approach to the games and guide your child to find out the answers on his or her own.
Through this practice, hopefully, you’ll reap some long-term benefits of a “growth mindset” with your child.
5 tips to develop a growth mindset in your child
1. Use the word “yet
When you catch your child saying he or she “can’t” do something, remind them that they can’t do it “yet.”
This puts it into their head that they will be able to succeed in this in the future.
2. Praise effort rather than ability
Instead of saying “Wow, you figured it out, you’re so smart,” you should praise the effort involved.
For instance, you might say, “Wow, you got the right answer, how did you come up with it?”
Then, follow up with, “I’m impressed with how much effort you put into this.”
There are lots of opportunities to praise effort when kids play our treasure hunt escape games. They make kids think, problem-solve, and work hard (but they are so fun, kids don't even know they are learning)!!
3. Provide opportunities for reflection after a task.
Ask questions about how the child came up with the answer or what ideas went into making the project.
This allows the child to consider his or her mistakes and successes as well as offering opportunities to consider where things might be changed or improved.
4. Lead by example
Be sure you model a growth mindset for your children.
Be careful not to say things like, “I can’t do that.” Or, “No, that is too hard for you.” Children pick up on that kind of talk.
Kids look to us as their role models and they mimic even the most subtle behaviors.
Instead, say things like, “That is difficult for me, but I will keep trying.” Or, “That might be too hard for you right now, but let’s practice so you can get better.”
5. Focus on the process instead of the end result
For instance, when you place a lot of emphasis on a test score (“Get an A on your test”), that becomes the most important task for your child.
They will want to do well on the test (whether they understand the material or not). Unfortunately, this puts a lot of unnecessary stress on a child.
However, if you encourage the process and the learning that takes place (instead of a test score), your child will be more engaged with practicing and learning the information.
Helping your child develop a growth mindset takes time, patience, and often a mindset shift of the parent.
You may not even realize you are promoting a fixed-mindset in your child purely by your words and actions. Try to be conscious of how you praise your child.
When you choose to emphasize hard work and effort, your child will respond in kind.
How do you promote a growth mindset with your children? We love hearing about your suggestions and tips!
Have a wonderful day!