How Your Child can Benefit from a Growth Mindset
It is crucial to reinforce to children that they are capable of achieving their dreams. To achieve those dreams, they need help. Fostering a growth mindset is important for a child’s development.
What is positive reinforcement? It is reinforcing a stimulus after a certain behaviour. This reinforcement increases the likelihood of the behaviour repeating in the future. To reinforce a stimulus, a favorable outcome or reward is provided to promote that same behaviour. An example of positive reinforcement is when a child earns money (reward) for doing chores (behaviour) every week. This signals to the child that they should continue doing their chores to receive that reward. Perhaps we can create situations with positive reinforcement in a less expensive way!
Using Positive Reinforcement To Foster A Growth Mindset
Praising children for their efforts and accomplishments is one way to install confidence in your children. They need to be told and assured that their best is enough and that their accomplishments are huge. It’s important that they learn to be proud of themselves. Do not praise their ability, but the behaviours they express while doing work.
What To Do When Doing Homework?
It is common for students to get frustrated with the work they have been given. But when they get frustrated, it’s important to show them ways to
- Healthily express these emotions
- Understand why they’re having them
- Develop a plan to help them
For example, students may use negative words to describe their intellect when they don’t understand a question or cannot figure out a solution instantly. As parents and teachers, we can help students by reinforcing positive statements. They are not less smart just because they cannot solve a math problem. They just need help to figure out THAT question/topic. Some things we can say to create a growth mindset during homework time are:
- “You’ve done this much work so far which means you understand the topic a bit. Let’s figure out the specific part you need help with”
- “It is okay to not get the answer right away. Sometimes it takes time”
- “How are you feeling right now? Are you feeling this way only because of homework, or is there something else that you would like to talk about?”
- “Let’s take a break and come back to it”
Fixed mindset vs growth
Many students hit a point where they feel that they are not achieving the same level of accomplishments as before, especially during pandemic times. Other students feel that without natural talent, it is pointless to work at something. This is entirely NOT TRUE!
Those students are in a fixed mindset. They believe intelligence, athleticism, and other traits are inherited and cannot be changed. While some may have natural talent, hard work is equally, if not more, important. Students need to adopt a growth mindset, where they learn that with consistent practice and time, they can develop their skills to a high level. When they adopt a growth mindset, they learn to
- Make mistake and treat them as learning periods
- Take on challenges, trusting that it will only add on to their experience, regardless of whether they achieve their end goal on the first try
- Use feedback as a tool to grow
- Believe that practice and consistency is key
Versus a fixed mindset where they
- Treat mistakes as the stop to their goals
- Hesitate to take on challenges because they’re scared of failure
- Treat feedback as an attack towards themselves
- Think that they are never going to reach their goals
A plant does not grow overnight. It requires sunlight, water, and perhaps some great quality fertilizer to grow well. Most importantly, it needs time to grow to its full potential. The same is with students. They need time to tap into their full potential paired with consistency. When a student realizes this, they are unstoppable, and who better to remind them than those who care about them!