WHY ENCOURAGE A GROWTH MINDSET IN YOUR CHILD?
As a parent part of your role is being your child’s cheerleader, encouraging them to understand and acknowledge their achievements to motivate them to keep learning. The natural thing to say when a child has achieved a good result is, “Well done, aren’t you clever!” but when you only praise your child for their talents or abilities they start to think about themselves in terms of what they do or do not have.
A child ONLY praised in this way will develop a FIXED MINDSET. They will probably be ok at school as long as they can maintain their status quo, but they have no strategy for failure. When they find themselves unable to achieve consistent results it can be unsettling for them as they lose their identity as ‘smart’ or ‘able’. A child with a fixed mindset can become unwilling to take on new learning for fear of failure and will be less likely to try.
Children can be helped to become much more resilient in learning by being encouraged to develop a GROWTH MINDSET. When you change the focus of praising a child to celebrate effort and hard work over ability, it takes away pressure from learning and encourages the child’s enthusiasm and determination to grow their skills.
A child who is able to keep on trying will develop RESILIENCE and will understand that mistakes are just a part of working out a right answer. They will become less demotivated when they can’t grasp something straight away and learn to enjoy being challenged. This happens when they understand that even if they can’t find an answer at their first attempt, it just means they haven’t managed YET. Perseverance and determination are the key to helping them get there, especially when they understand that you recognise and value their efforts!
ABSOLUTELY keep telling your children that they’re ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. Every child needs to hear this from the people who care about them, but try to combine this with letting your child know how impressed you are with the effort and determination they’ve put in (whether they reach their goals or not as long as they’ve tried). This can be taken a step further by using PROCESS PRAISE, a tool we'll have lots of information about soon in our forthcoming PARENT SECTION.
Although children do most of their learning at school, they take their beliefs and their values from you. They value what you value and if they understand that you hold their effort and perseverance in high regard, this will be at the forefront of their developing sense of self-worth.
In doing this, school will be a much happier place will and encourage your child to develop into a learner who is confident in their abilities and enjoys being challenged by new things.