TIP #42: 3 Practical Ways to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Kids

TIP #42 3 Practical Ways to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Kids

Having a growth mindset is one of the most essential factors in a student’s ability to learn. When kids believe they have the potential to learn, even when it’s difficult, the sky’s the limit for their achievements.

But when kids adopt a fixed mindset, they settle for far less than what they’re capable of. Their lack of belief in themselves stifles their ability to apply themselves fully.

A mindset isn’t something we’re born with or even a thing we necessarily choose. Rather, it’s a set of attitudes and beliefs about ourselves we subconsciously build upon from a very young age. 

Personality can certainly factor into a child’s self-confidence. But there are ways we adults can influence the kids around us to promote a growth mindset.

Here are 3 practical things you can do every day to nurture a growth mindset in kids…

1. Embrace mistakes

Mistakes should be seen as valuable learning opportunities, rather than something to be feared. Our best learning often happens as the result of a mistake that’s been made – by us or by someone else. 

When students make mistakes, help them view their mistakes as opportunities to grow. The best way to do this is to lead by example and model mistake-making. A healthy attitude toward our own mistakes will go a long way in helping kids develop the same. 

Rather than glossing over or covering up your own mistakes, point them out. Talk about what went wrong and what you learned from it. Let kids see that mistakes aren’t final and we don’t need to be embarrassed by them. We all make mistakes!

2. Praise properly

Did you know there’s a right and wrong way to praise kids? Praise should be specific and relate to an action that could be repeated. Generalized compliments like, “Good job!” or “That looks great!” usually aren’t very impactful.

Praise becomes meaningful when we acknowledge something we can see or hear, like a student’s effort on a project or a kind word to a classmate. The best way to praise kids is to catch them doing something right.

3. Utilize “yet”

We can all benefit by using the word “yet” more often in our daily conversations with ourselves and others. And this word is especially formative for kids!

“Yet” means “so far” or “up to the present time”. When used along with the desired outcome (eg. “I haven’t learned this yet, but I’ll keep trying.”) it implies hope. It conveys belief held for success at a future time.

Using the word “yet” encourages kids and reminds them of what we believe is possible. There’s no underestimating the power of “yet”.

Embracing mistakes, praising properly, and utilizing “yet” are game-changers when it comes to nurturing a growth mindset in kids. 

If you’d like to learn more about growth mindset, check out the bestselling book, “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck (affiliate link).

an inspiring quote:

“Success hinges less on getting everything right than on how you handle getting things wrong.” ~ Michelle Russel

How kids respond to their mistakes is a key ingredient to their success in life. Mistakes provide unique opportunities to learn when we reflect on them with honesty and humility.

a question worth considering:

Where do you see a fixed mindset holding a child back and what role might you play in changing that?