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Let Them Grow: 5 Ways Parents Can Nurture a Growth Mindset in Their Kids

A growth mindset is about one being able to develop and improve abilities. Nurturing this kind of mindset in your kids encourages them to learn new things despite obstacles and failures. This way of thinking can help instill in them a love for learning in itself.

As someone who has been a kid once, you know the importance of getting support from your family, whether it’s them showing up at your events at school or creating an environment conducive to learning at home.

As a parent, it’s your turn to show support for your children and their development. Check out these suggestions for cultivating a growth mindset in your kids.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

The growth mindset was coined by Stanford University professor and psychologist Carol Dweck. It’s a belief that one starts out with brains and talent, but other abilities can develop through hard work and dedication.

Let’s take a look at the elements of the growth mindset below:

1. Set an Example

Kids will see how you react to situations, so try to show them your way of handling things that inspire confidence and resilience. Consider yourself as a living example of someone who is (i) open to challenges and (ii) sees mistakes as part of the process and embraces them to be better.

What’s more, you have to believe your kids can accomplish their goals (for as long as they are realistic). This study, for example, demonstrates the important link between parents’ attitudes toward shared reading and their children’s linguistic competencies.

2. Reward to Encourage

Schools honor their top students at the end of the school year, companies give out performance and service awards, and contests reward the winners. Awards show appreciation for merit and contribution.

You may not exactly have to give a trophy or ribbon to your children, but consider getting something they’ll love to recognize their achievement or improvement in an activity. It can be a trip to the amusement park, a gadget used with your guidance, and any incentive that encourages them to continue doing a good job.

3. Praise Effectively

Dr. Dweck’s landmark study puts out the importance of praising children for their effort rather than their intelligence. The study shows how fifth graders were praised because they smartly performed differently from those praised because of their effort.

As parents, you may have to find a way to compliment your children that motivates them to keep going and working hard to achieve their goals. Reading on the subject and talking with other parents, teachers, and experts may help you praise your children effectively.

4. Focus on the Progress

Putting in time and energy to achieve a goal is key to a growth mindset, but sometimes, effort is not enough. Tread carefully on what is known as a false growth mindset or a misunderstanding of it, according to Dr. Dweck in an interview. Based on her explanation, a person has both fixed and growth mindsets and does not have a growth mindset in “everything all the time.”

This nuance also warns against praising children for effort for the sake of praising them. Instead, consider praising them for their progress, as evident in the strategies they have made to reach that point.

5. Recognize the Role of Teachers and Schools

Children spend a lot of time in school, such as an average of 943 hours for primary schoolers in the U.S. This length of time or more they spend interacting with teachers, students, and school staff, and all these interactions at school helps shape their beliefs and attitudes.

What’s clear now is that schools have consistently recognized students who have excelled in academics, sports, and the like. They tend to have online and actual bulletin boards to announce the achievements of their students. This reward can form part of a student’s motivation, as their efforts are seen, and their work leading to a desired outcome pays off.

Let’s Grow

The growth mindset is a fascinating concept with the potential to help your kids do well at school and extracurricular activities. It is not a blanket approach or one set in stone, so explore and find strategies that will fit into your situation and allow you to effectively cultivate this mindset in your kids.


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