In this age, where knowledge and skills are regarded as valuable resources, developing a growth mindset for kids is more important than ever. This article will help you understand the concept of growth mindset and how it can be taught and adopted at school and at home.
What is Growth Mindset?
Growth mindset is identified as an essential component in the development period of a kid. According to Dr. Carol Dweck (2006) ( 1), a psychology professor at Stanford University, a growth mindset is an integration of learning and intelligence. Learners believe that achieving self-actualization when knowledge is complemented with taking the time and hard work to learn a particular skill. Parents believe that success is proportional to the effort and perseverance paid in the process, making sure to embed this notion to their kids.
Fixed Mindset Vs. Growth Mindset for Kids
A growth mindset is classified differently from a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset is based on the intelligence and abilities that are deemed natural for a person.
This can be advantageous when invested in but incurs adverse effects when the person is limited with his predetermined characteristics (not doing other areas judged to be not good at) or solely based on intelligence without employing the amount of hard work ( 2).
A growth mindset, conversely, takes leverage of innate intelligence and applies perseverance and diligence to harness the potential. It is developed by continuously learning new things day by day, whether it leads to a good outcome or not.
Growth Mindset Definition in Kids
A growth mindset is seen to be vital in shaping students’ character. School is an important breeding ground for student growth, not only employing academic support but also teaching them the different values and morals of life and how these transcend outside the four corners of the classroom. School also provides a competitive setting for various students to flourish and learn to adapt.
A growth mindset is healthy for kids as it will clear the way of the real silver lining towards going to school. Students are not there to flash their performances on areas they are proficient in but make use of all resources to develop what you need to enhance.
As grades are essential to gauge learning, it is also essential to note the milestones, not measurable by grades, such as time management, prioritization, team cooperation, and others. By embedding this kind of mindset, any student will not only shine within the school but also reach their goals.
Benefits of Growth Mindset in School
A growth mindset has tangibly resulted in a lot of beneficial effects on students or children.Unlike having a fixed mindset where limitation of the abilities is most likely to manifest, a growth mindset examines oneself in the introspect to explore what they can learn more through the use of its existing skills. A fixed mindset is always all about showing off and looking smart. In doing so, things outside the comfort zone are avoided at all costs as they will not be well with the reputation.
According to Claro & Paunesku (2016) ( 3), the following benefits manifested on students maintaining a growth mindset:
- Growth mindset yields to relatively better performance in math and literacy than those having a fixed mindset
- There is a better assimilation of topics.
- Students recognize the significance and role of perseverance and hard work in achieving higher grades.
- Students now do not budge on taking on difficult and complex tasks; as it was, students prefer more challenging activities
- Students take feedback seriously and have better reception towards evaluations. Feedback is seen as a vital tool in gauging the student’s stand on the learning curve and the remaining milestones to achieve towards completion.
Other researchers concur with the broad scope of benefits gained from having a growth mindset ( 4). These are;
A series of failures shall not deter students with a growth mindset. They acknowledge shortcomings as part of the process and use these as building blocks to achieve success. They sustain that mindset that it does not matter if you’ve failed, as long as you have learned from those failures and vow to become better.
Students with a growth mindset do not settle for what is typical or conventional. Instead, they continually challenge themselves to step up and take opportunities to enhance self-development. Examples of these are more engagement towards leadership roles, volunteering, and other student activities. In these aspects, students learn how to manage time efficiently and get to know more deeply about their advocacies and inclinations.
A growth mindset provides an avenue for a student to harness his potential, which may or may not be discovered. In the process, an individual is looking forward to exploring new things and opportunities where learning can be optimized. Flexibility among different tasks is developed, which can be beneficial in the long run.
A competitive and healthy working environment breeds a growth mindset. It allows members to work together efficiently, taking leverage of different strengths in performing specific tasks. The strain of trying to edge out another person is eliminated through a growth mindset as the goal is to build not to divide.
Growth Mindset for Homeschooling
Promoting a growth mindset whilst homeschooling is very beneficial for students to push through activities without damaging their self-esteem. Encouraging a growth mindset should be an integral part of homeschooling.
A growth mindset helps keep one’s mind occupied with a series of productive things. In this way, one minimizes himself to wallow in grief or in the notion of being unproductive in a day. Furthermore, having a growth mindset allows one to discover himself in the process in terms of potential, hidden skills, and adaptation to various circumstances, which is beneficial for an individual in the long term.
Growth Mindset Kit
This activity kit is designed to help develop a growth mindset in kids and teach them the key life skill. Check this out by clicking the image below.
8 Effective Ways to Teach your Child to Develop a Growth Mindset
There are many effective ways to help kids develop a growth mindset. The development is a gradual process but will reap more benefits in the long run through the help of guardians, such as parents and teachers. Enumerated below are some of the ways you can try for your kids to get that growth mindset in time ( 5).
Let them read books
As the saying goes, “there’s nothing more frigate like a book.” By reading, kids will expand their minds more by coursing through different topics and subjects. Kids will also be able to learn from morals and how characters approach and handle various situations with a growth mindset.
Design activities which involve critical thinking
Learning should not be limited only by gathering knowledge but also extends as to how they are applied in the real world. There are various activities where the abilities and skills of your kids can be harnessed. You might be surprised how they will come a long way.
Involve them with daily house chores
Learning should fundamentally start at home. By including them in the daily tasks needed at home, they will become responsible at an early age, accounting for their school work and responsibilities at home. Start them by assigning tasks, for example, preparing for dinner, or in general cleaning tasks on weekends.
Be a role model
Kids tend to imitate what they see growing up. Being a good role model, yourself sets an excellent breeding ground for kids to flourish. Simple tasks like maintaining a schedule in preparing meals, fetching kids from school, or giving time to aid their assessments, are a fantastic way of building up a growth mindset.
Choose the right media content
With the age of technology nowadays, a kid can easily stay on your bed or couch the whole day streaming on video platform sites for their favorite cartoons or shows. As a modern guardian, you should adapt as well by helping them choose the content they subscribe to. There are various shows which stimulate growth mindset employing applicable situations in real life.
Give them rewards
Maintaining a growth mindset is not all about being proactive in developing yourself. It also is about striking the right balance of providing just rewards after milestones are achieved. As a parent or teacher, don’t forget to acknowledge achievements, whether small or big. This is important to remind them that they are doing good in what they do, and the future is promising if they keep working hard.
Let them embrace failures
No success emerges without failures. Whenever missteps are encountered, let the children understand that these are normal and great avenues to learn from. Important guidance should be employed in giving the right feedback in order not to stir negative emotions on the kids.
Let your presence be visible
Yes, merely being there for the kid goes a long way toward their mindset growing up. There must be someone to talk to about their predicaments and heed advice from whenever difficulties are encountered. Make every moment count for your kid.
Why Teachers Need a Growth Mindset Too
In the development process of a student, teachers must bear a growth mindset too. As a significant portion of a kid’s life is devoted to school, teachers, thereby, take accountability in helping the student harness his/her potential. In the process, teachers should also maintain a growth mindset to set as role models for students. This is to show to students to pursue learning not only for the sake of getting good grades and high remarks but also because the learning process contains heaps of morals and values which one can learn from ( 6).
Teachers serve as one of the first guardians of a child’s life, so in the process, it is essential to depict that learning is not limited within the walls of the classroom only, but will transcend as well outside the institution. In contemporary days today, teachers could effectively incorporate technology to enhance learning. This also mirrors the proctor’s adaptability in designing learning strategies and accounting for the students’ responses.
Growth Mindset Activities for Middle School
There are a lot of activities/games that are deemed effective to develop a growth mindset. Teachers should be proactive in designing activities that are not limited only to memorization or objective type exams but also those that involve critical thinking and team cooperation. For parents, many activities can be explored too, even in the comfort of our homes. Listed below are some activities you can choose from:
At a tender age, you can expose them to community activities to make them aware of the various responsibilities beyond school and home. You can involve them in cleanups or feeding programs.
This is a creative way of tracking your kids’ milestones each time. In each success milestone achieved, make them write it on a piece of paper and store in the accomplishment jar. At the end of the year, both you and your kid can read all the accomplishments.
You can design games that are both exciting and challenging. For example, investigative games, puzzles, or decision-making games (i.e., logic, monopoly, Kanoodle, etc.).
You can spend your Friday night after a long week watching not only entertaining shows but also informative. A recommended show is Avatar: Legend of Aang, which is not only showcasing its cinematic animations but also depicts various morals about friendship, families, and community responsibilities.
Growth Mindset Children’s Books
Books play significant roles in achieving a growth mindset by activating their creative side and making them aware of different values and morals in life. Here are a few popular books to try.
Growth Mindset Books for Kids:
● Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
This is a favorite childhood book about an orphan girl and her adventures in Green Gables after being adopted. Her penchant for imagination and beautiful things makes anyone burst with curiosity as well.
● The Girl Who Never Makes Mistakes by Gary Rubinstein and Mark Pett
Beatrice, at first, lived through life without mistakes. Things then turned around when missteps were encountered. This book introduces the concept of embracing failures in life to improve oneself continually.
● Series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler,Lemony Snicket and Brett Helquist
This book series is one of the popular childhood books which stimulates early responsibility towards family and kin and standing up for your principles and what you need to protect.
● Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keen
An investigative book will surely stimulate the logic and decision making of a child. Nancy Drew is a favorite book series depicting various cases of surrounding mysteries and anonymity and the adventures that come in between them.
Growth Mindset Quotes
Growth mindset quotes for kids can be used to empower kids to embrace their mistakes as learning opportunities. Check out Growth mindset Quotes for kids here.
Developing a growth mindset for kids at an early age results in many benefits. This is proven not to help kids excel in school but also life in general. It may be a long, arduous process for some, but there are many ways to make it interactive and fun for both the kids and the guardians. Make achieving a growth mindset a goal for each child and they will enjoy multiple benefits growing up.
- Clark, A., & Sousa, B. (2018, February 21). The World University Rankings. Retrieved from Your biggest asset for academic career success? A growth mindset: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/blog/your-biggest-asset-academic-career-success-growth-mindset#
- Claro, S., & Paunesku, D. (2016). Growth mindset tempers the effects of poverty on academic achievement. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (pp. 8664–8668). Massachusetts: CrossMark.
- Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books.
- Kazakoff, E., & Mitchell, A. (2006). How to Help Students Develop a Growth Mindset (and How Technology Can Support Educator Efforts). Retrieved from Lexia: https://www.lexialearning.com/sites/default/files/resources/Cultivating-Growth-Mindset-with-Educational-Technology-White-Paper.pdf
- McKay, S. (2015). Your Brain Health. New York.
- Ricci, M. C., & Lee, M. (2016). Mindsets for Parents: Strategies to Encourage Growth Mindsets in Kids. Phoenix: Prufrock Press.