How does your child think about themselves? Do they believe they can get better at things? That's growth mindset. Do they feel like they aren't smart, brave, strong, or good? That is a fixed mindset. Growth mindset means that your child believes they can become smarter through effort. They believe their abilities are something they have control over. We call this efficacy.
So how can we help our children have a growth mindset? The best way is through modeling. Do you as a parent behave as if you can get smarter, improve, or gain new abilities? Reflect on the ways you show your children that you do believe you have control over your abilities. Children pick up on your beliefs even if you don't say them aloud. Make sure you are modeling growth mindset for your children.
Another way parents can support the creation of a growth mindset in their students is to "praise the process". Rather than giving your students praise for success and results, make efforts to praise them during the efforts. We call this "praising the process". Praise them for trying hard. Praise them for trying over and over again. When they fail, encourage them to fail forward, learning from their mistakes. At such a young age, the success is not nearly as important at the process. This style of praise helps children build perseverance and a belief can improve. In short, it creates a growth mindset.
For parents of older children, below is a link to a list of young adult novels that role model growth mindset.
Erin Rae is the Curriculum Coordinator at Lockport 91.
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