By Jessica Bouta, Licensed School Counselor, West Elementary
The beginning of a new calendar year can be an exciting time, when we often reflect and set attainable goals for the coming year. Talking with your child about their goals and aspirations can help provide them with direction, motivation, and purpose.
Of course, challenges, setbacks and obstacles are inevitable. Helping children develop a growth mindset, a belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, effort, and perseverance, can help. Caregivers can empower their children to embrace these challenges, learn from mistakes, and unlock their full potential.
The following list of strategies can help develop a growth mindset to build resilience and overcome challenging situations:
1. Emphasize the Power of ‘Yet’
Introduce the concept of “yet” as a powerful word that signifies growth and potential. When children say, “I can’t do it,” encourage them to add “yet” to the end of the sentence, shifting their mindset to a growth-oriented perspective. Teach them that with effort and practice, they can achieve their goals and master new skills.
2. Praise Effort, Progress, and Strategies
Focus on praising children’s efforts, progress, and strategies rather than innate abilities. Recognize their hard work, dedication, and resilience in the face of challenges. By highlighting their progress and growth over time, you reinforce the belief that dedication and perseverance lead to improvement and success.
3. Encourage Risk-taking and Exploration
Create a supportive environment where children feel comfortable taking risks, making mistakes, and exploring new ideas. By embracing challenges and setbacks as learning opportunities, children develop resilience, problem-solving skills, and a passion for continuous improvement.
4. Teach the Science of the Brain
Introduce children to the science of the brain. Explain that with effort, practice, and perseverance, they can strengthen neural connections, develop new skills, and enhance their abilities over time.
5. Foster a Growth Mindset Environment
Create a growth mindset environment that promotes curiosity and exploration. Provide children with opportunities to collaborate, share ideas, and learn from their peers. Celebrate their progress and efforts, creating a supportive and encouraging atmosphere where they feel empowered to take risks, make mistakes, and grow.
6. Model a Growth Mindset
As role models, parents, educators, and caregivers play a crucial role in modeling a growth mindset for children. Demonstrate resilience, perseverance, and a passion for learning through your actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Share stories of your own challenges, setbacks, and successes, highlighting the importance of effort, determination, and continuous learning.
7. Encourage Reflective Practices
Encourage children to engage in reflective practices, self-assessment, and goal-setting. Teach them to reflect on their strengths, areas for improvement, and develop actionable goals and strategies to achieve them. By fostering self-awareness and accountability, children take ownership of their learning and growth journey.
Cultivating a growth mindset in children is essential for fostering resilience, motivation, and a passion for learning. As we embark on a new year filled with so many possibilities, remember that nurturing a growth mindset is a lifelong journey that requires patience, encouragement, and continuous support to help children reach their goals and thrive in today’s ever-changing world.