We all know about mindset. As adults, we hear about how important mindset is in both daily life and business, especially when it comes to getting through the hard times, but we tend to struggle with it. Why? Because it’s hard to change your mindset when you’ve thought a certain way for many years, it’s hard to change habit. This is why we need to teach our children about positive mindsets from a young age, so we can help them grow into stronger people in the future. Here is why this is so essential and how you can encourage a positive mindset in your children.
Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset
There are two types of mindsets – a fixed mindset or a growth mindset – we learn one or the other when we are young and develop these thoughts until they become beliefs and habit when we are older.
Take a look at the difference between the two. Which mindset would you like your children to have?
Fixed Mindset – people believe that their abilities are unchanging and predetermined.
This means that they either believe that they are born smart or with a talent or they aren’t. When challenges arise or things don’t go their way (e.g. they don’t get the job that they want), they believe it is because they aren’t good enough and that alone, is reason enough to give up. They believe that no matter how hard they work, they won’t be successful because it’s not part of their DNA and this way of thinking is very limiting to their development as a person, their happiness, and their success.
Growth Mindset – people believe that everyone has the ability to be whoever and whatever they want to be.
Having a growth mindset means that even if someone doesn’t have a natural talent or genetics that make them intelligent, with hard work and dedication, they know that they can learn enough to be on the same level or even better than the people who are naturally good at something. They believe that they can learn and achieve anything as long as they put their mind to it and this positive outlook fuels their determination and persistence with something even if it’s difficult or they may fail. This way of thinking means that they are more likely to keep trying when things are hard rather than giving up.
9 Ways to Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Children
We’ve established the importance of having a growth mindset, so here is how you can make sure that your children are developing one from a young age:
- Model a growth mindset yourself – children copy you, so actively try and have a growth mindset yourself. This means no self-defeating talk only positive self-statements and affirmations.
- Make goals together – show your children how to have this type of mindset by setting goals together and tracking your progress. It can be something as simple as wanting to read every day. Hang up a calendar and everyone who completed their daily goal gets a star or a treat on the weekend. (Read: How to Build a Positive Parenting Connection)
- Don’t tell your children they are ‘smart,’ ‘gifted’ or ‘talented’ – this may seem crazy but doing this encourages a fixed mindset (that children are born this way) and discourages them from giving additional effort to be better.
- Praise a growth mindset – if your child has demonstrated a growth mindset by not giving up with learning to do something or doing something new, praise them for it. They will soon learn that effort and commitment is something positive.
- Praise hard work (not results) – while grades are important and winning a competition or sports event would have been the best result, help your child celebrate any result because they did their best. Teach them that you should only be disappointed if you didn’t do your best because that is all you can do. Also, you can use this as a learning opportunity to think of ways that they can improve next time.
- Encourage and support passions – while art or dance might not be the career path that you want your child to take, it’s really important that you give them the chance to explore their passions and give them the support that they need. Being passionate about something gives your child the potential to be great so encourage them to be curious and follow their instincts.
- Resist the urge to prevent failures, encourage them to persevere – it’s very tempting to help your children not make mistakes but mistakes and failing is how they learn to be better. Resist this urge to fix their problem and give them space to work through the process. By doing this, they learn that working hard is how they fix problems not turning to you for help.
- Give your children responsibilities – children love to accomplish tasks on their own, they feel proud and this builds their confidence. Help your children feel capable by giving them tasks that they can help you with. This encourages them to embrace their curiosity as they grow older and gives them the confidence to explore new challenges.
- Use positive language – encourage your child not to give up, tell them to trust themselves, encourage challenges, and always tell them to try their best. There really is power in positivity and they will grow up with these phrases as a mantra that they live by.
Encouraging a growth mindset in your children is essential to their happiness as they grow older as their mindset can be the difference between them being confident enough to go for what they are passionate about and to keep trying even when things get tough. It’s so essential that our children believe in themselves and their abilities, so use these 9 things in your daily life and you will also soon feel capable, curious and confident in everything that you do.