Adopting a growth mindset for kids leads to having more success later on in life.
The earlier a child understands the importance of positivity and growth (instead of focusing on weaknesses and maintaining a fixed mindset), the better the odds of achievement in life tend to be.
Plus, growth mindsets enhance the learning process and introduce them to a happier lifestyle. However, simply trying to keep kids safe is already a challenge in and of itself.
You may believe optimizing their mindset simply is not worth the effort. In actuality, developing this mindset involves using only a few simple strategies.
In this article for adults, we will describe how developing a growth-oriented mindset introduces children to a successful and happy life, as well as specific actions you can take to help your child along the way.
Growth Mindset for Kids
Every person has beliefs about their strengths and abilities. Such beliefs contribute to an individual’s mindset, which is how they view themselves, success, and the environment around them.
Mindsets have direct impacts on our everyday lives, self-image, and future goals.
Dr. Carol Dweck, a pioneer psychology researcher, found there are two main types of mindsets: growth and fixed.
She is the individual who created the definitions of growth/fixed mindsets through her research.
Dweck stated that people with a growth mindset believe they can improve their abilities and strengths (thus, grow as a person) by using their existing skills and effort.
Since this is a positive mindset and focuses on personal growth, it is also linked to having stronger problem-solving strategies in place early on in life.
Using the strategy often leads to more satisfaction and success as one age.
Grow Mindset for Kids – The Benefits
Acquiring a growth mindset has a plethora of benefits to children of all ages. It makes their everyday lives more positive, increases their interest in learning, and leads to children being happier, healthier, and smarter overall.
The effects of a growth mindset are especially clear when looking at school performance. Growth-oriented children tend to have higher grades and develop a passion for learning.
Kids with this mindset are willing to explore topics simply because they are intrigued by them instead of doing so to impress their parents or teachers.
They care more about truly engaging with the content they learn instead of just getting good grades. Growth is also beneficial to student-athletes.
For instance, many natural athletes have a fixed mindset. They may believe they have a certain amount of skill, and that is all they will ever obtain. So, they are forced to work within their current abilities instead of trying to improve.
Growth-oriented athletes know that with effort and time, they can improve their skills and eventually perform better than natural athletes.
They see their potential as reliant on their effort, not as a fixed outcome. Additional benefits of a growth mindset also include acknowledging the importance of hard work, learning the value of persistence, finding motivation sources, and taking more risks.
Kids will understand that failure is not a reflection of personal flaws, but rather an opportunity for knowledge growth.
8 Activities and Effective Ways to Teach Your Child How To Develop a Growth Mindset
Each parent has their own way of creating a springboard for growth. Developing any mindset, but especially a positive mindset involves lots of continuous learning and dedication.
Below are a few growth mindset strategies for adults and caregivers.
Let Them Read Books
Reading books exposes children to new ideas and cultures. It is one of the safest ways to explore the world, and it does not require leaving your home.
By making learning fun through reading, your children are more likely to remember the new information they gather.
They can also spot characters with a growth mindset and observe how they react to their circumstances.
Design Activities Which Involve Critical Thinking
Children acquire intelligence through learning repeatedly, especially when learning with hands-on activities.
Try to create activities where your children use their existing knowledge to solve problems. If they struggle, help them to acquire new skills.
Get Kids Involved in Chores
Kids can be stimulated early on when participating in household chores. This also lets kids experience the importance of being responsible.
Maintaining even simple tasks, like washing the dishes or walking the dog, lets kids work on their time management skills and recognize their everyday skills early on.
Be a Role Model
Kids enjoy parroting the behaviors of their loved ones. After all, their family are the first people they have relationships with.
Work on your own strengths and use positive parenting and positive language so your kids start to think similarly.
For instance, if you make a mistake, show how you learn from your misstep and keep trying to solve the problem at hand.
Use growth mindset statements that display you are not afraid of failure, but rather recognize it as a chance to gain experience and skills.
Children need to know you are there for them, and they must view you as a trustworthy figure to develop a growth mindset.
If your child needs emotional support, be there for them. Spent time with your child one on one to help him/her discover more about themselves.
Success does not occur without some failure.
Help your children understand that failure is not the end of the world, but it is a great way to strengthen their skills so they can succeed at their next attempt.
Failure gives children a great deal of time for reflection so they can truly do what they must do to become better problem solvers.
Create a Reward System
Growth mindsets are not simply just a pursuit of constant improvement. Sometimes, it is beneficial to take time to recognize your success.
So, recognize your child’s successes whether they are large or small. This positive feedback is important for the child’s self-esteem and motivation.
Encourage Healthy Media Viewing Behaviors
Children are not stimulated by constantly watching video games or cartoons.
While performing these activities should be done in moderation, you can encourage kids to view educational content during their screen time.
You can explore apps together by trying to find content that teaches your child about their favorite topics.
20 Practical Examples for Nurturing a Growth Mindset for Kids
There are many ways to practice growth with your child. Opportunities for growth occur by creating a nurturing and accepting environment.
Below are 20 possible activities you can do or say to help a child develop a growth mindset:
1. Tell children they are capable of improvement.
Encourage them to recognize their existing skills but also ensure they continue to pursue growth by telling them that their skills improve through time and effort.
2. Pay attention to your child’s effort levels.
Representation of growth differs from person to person, but parents can have conversations with children if you believe they are not trying their best in school or other activities.
3. Teach them to appreciate constructive criticism.
See it as an opportunity to recognize some ways you can improve.
4. If the child fails, remind them of something they learned through the failure.
5. Try modeling the child’s work habits after successful people.
Kids may find famous people interesting and may like to model behavior after them, so try to find positive attributes of their favorite celebrity’s routine.
6. Create “kids time”, where children are free to be unrestrained and learn from their mistakes in the real world.
7. Look at the big picture.
If your child received all As except for one test, do not stress and celebrate his or her success instead of focusing on one insignificant grade.
8. Devalue other’s approval.
Your children need to build their own unique skills and solve their own unique problems, so other’s approval is unnecessary and sometimes hurtful.
9. Be patient.
The wonderful life that comes with personal growth takes lots of effort and time to achieve.
10. Be confident.
Recognize your child’s strengths and teach them they are unique and skilled.
11. Test out new approaches to the problem, and do not stress if some of these approaches do not work.
12. If the child cannot do something, remind them it is a temp rotary situation. Later, they can learn this activity.
13. Get children committed and hooked to the process of learning by exposing them to many experiences.
14. Be specific when praising your children, so they can understand exactly which skill helped them succeed at an activity.
15. Use positive self-talk.
When the child says something negative, reframe their thoughts toward a more positive mindset.
16. If they achieve something without putting in the effort, try challenging your child.
17. Recognize their persistence as the first step toward success.
18. Embrace stepping outside of the child’s comfort zone.
First, identify what that zone entails and then try new activities which challenge their beliefs and limitations.
19. Tell children their results do not define them as a person.
If a child fails, they are not a failure. This will keep them positive and motivated.
20. Analyze ways they can improve their skills, even if the child succeeds at accomplishing a goal.
Growth Mindset for Children Vs Fixed Mindset
The fixed mindset revolves around the premise that people’s skills and abilities are fixed, meaning they cannot change their skills or develop new skills outside of their natural abilities.
The fixed mindset can be increasingly damaging to a child’s self-esteem and limits their potential. For instance, if a child is not naturally good at basketball (tall, strong, quick reaction time, etc) he may give up on learning the skill.
The growth mindset, however, acknowledges ways to apply innate skills and perseverance/effort to personal development.
Such growth occurs when children continue to learn and challenge themselves, as well as apply their existing skills to try to solve problems.
It takes dedicated time to develop such a mindset, especially if the child is in a negative environment, but growth-oriented children succeed more often and lead happier lives.
Frequently Asked Questions About Growth Mindset For Kids
What is a Growth Mindset for Students?
A growth mindset focuses on using one’s innate skills, effort, and persistence to develop new skills and strengthen existing abilities.
For students, the growth mindset teaches kids to focus on the big picture, embrace failure, learn from mistakes, find new motivation sources, and take logical risks.
Often, this results in more academic and sports success for students.
Teaching Growth Mindset to Elementary Students
Encourage children to continue trying activities outside of the classroom and embrace failure as an opportunity to grow.
Finally, reframe the child’s thoughts. If they say something negative, try to help the child see themselves in a more positive way.
How do You Explain the Growth Mindset to a Child?
Tell the child that his or her skills and abilities are not fixed.
The children can achieve whatever they set their minds to through an appropriate amount of time and effort.
Encourage them to explore new ways to solve problems and try new activities.
If they fail, explain that failure is not the end of the world, but rather an opportunity to grow.