Supporting Kids to Adopt a Growth Mindset

September 16, 2017

Quote of the Week

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." --Albert Einstein

Tips For Helping Kids Adopt A Growth Mindset

As our children head back to school this month, it's a good time to think about how promoting a "growth mindset" fosters learning, resilience, and the ability to see potential both in ourselves and others.  "The “growth mindset,” is an idea pioneered by Stanford researcher Carol Dweck.  It’s the opposite of a “fixed mindset,” the idea that people are born either smart or not, kind or not, strong or not—and people just don’t change all that much.  According to this research, when we practice a growth mindset, the obstacles we’re facing seem more surmountable.  It’s crucial for us to realize that we are not helpless; we can grow and adapt. Just as important as seeing ourselves as capable of growth, however, is the belief that someone who is challenging us can change, too.  This perspective releases some of the pressure we might feel, and helps us to think more in terms of challenges than threats."  This article from UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center provides useful tips for parents on how to help kids and teens adopt a growth mindset.  You can also watch Carol Dweck's Ted talk on the power of believing that you can improve.

Reading Corner

Title: The Thing Lou Couldn't Do
By: Ashley Spires
Recommended for Ages 4-8

"This delightful picture book perfectly depicts what children go through when confronted with something difficult. With humor and endearing artwork, Spires sensitively portrays Lou procrastinating, making excuses, imagining alternatives and denying she cares. Ultimately, Lou faces her fear, and although she fails, the effort empowers her, encouraging a growth mindset. All the while, Lou's friends model compassionate friendship."

Be the Change

Share a story with your child about a time that you faced a fear or challenge in your life and how you grew from the experience. Ask your child to think of something he/she is doing now that is challenging and imagine all of the learning that is taking place in the brain by watching this Khan academy video on how to grow your brain.  With younger children, you can watch this video which shows a cartoon animation illustrating growth vs. fixed mindset.