Every child needs to believe in themselves in order to learn and grow. There is a powerful way that we, as the adults in their lives, can nurture this belief and set them up to learn, grow and flourish.
We need to teach children that as they grow physically, so does their minds. Children with a fixed mindset believe that they will always be the way they are, whilst children with a growth mindset understand they will grow stronger with, and for learning, with time and effort.
Encouragement and praise is vital in helping children achieve. Children generally tend toward two types of mindset – fixed or growth. Praise that focuses on intelligence promotes a fixed mindset in which the belief is that intelligence cannot be changed. Children with this mindset believe they are born with a fixed amount of intelligence and creativity and nothing they do will change that.
Praise that focuses on effort, for example, ‘I like the way you worked really hard on that’, or instead of saying, ‘your really smart’ say, ‘It was really clever the way you experimented with a few different ways to solve that problem. Nice work!‘ promotes a growth mindset which is the belief that intelligence can grow and strengthen with effort. If praise such as this is continually given, children will believe they are capable of achieving what they want understanding that time and effort is important in getting there.
Children with a fixed mindset lack confidence, give up quickly, and avoid challenges. Whereas, children with a growth mindset are able to persist to complete tasks, are confident and embrace challenges. Speak of failure and challenge in terms of being an opportunity to learn and grow.
Use the word, Yet. It’s a simple, three letter word that holds much power. When a child says, ‘I don’t know how to do it,’ encourage them to say, ‘I don’t know how to do it, yet.‘ Encourage them to use the word Yet themselves in their learning, in every day life. Self talk is a powerful tool for the mind.