Growth mindset for children- 8 ways to empower a child that gets easily disappointed.

growth mindset for children

Growth mindset for children

*For a quick read on what is Growth mindset read this post.

There are a lot of children who are not the best students. There are many reasons for this. They might be experiencing family drama, or have learning disabilities. The question here is: How do you instill a growth mindset in them?

No matter how hard you try, their learning curve is bigger and slower. This can lead to hopelessness on behalf of the child. And it is not only this…

When a child faces difficulties, in order to hide these difficulties, he/she may turn to violence and bullying other children. They do this, to turn away the attention from their learning difficulties.

lack of growth mindset in children may lead to bullying

In the book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, the author Roy F. Baumeister, mentions that when people feel bad because they ‘ve failed, they only get into a vicious cycle of trying to feel better by doing the opposite of what they wanted to achieve (weight, quit smoking, improve academically etc).

Instead, what he states clearly is that at some point our willpower will fail and when this happens we will need alternative strategies.

So… what can we do to instill growth mindset?

Here are some things to consider as a teacher or parent.

1. Talk to them about growth mindset.

Class Dojo has some awesome videos dedicated to growth mindset for children. Growth Mindset theory is about changing your own brain by learning new stuff! Its motto is: never give up. Talk to them about neurons and how they change once you learn something new. Show them photos of neuros.

brain nerve cells

For educators: Whichever digital platform you use for communicating with parents, don’t forget to share the videos with them! They can continue what you’ve started in the classroom and have good conversations with their children at home. Parents can be a wonderfull ally!

A book that is specifically adressed to educators with easy to apply teaching ideas is “Mindsets in the classroom” by Mary Cay Ricci.

2. Learn something new.

Once they kids learn about Growth mindset, it will be much more exciting to learn something new. The theory about Growth mindset is interesting, but the application is what matters!

If you are a teacher and don’t have time, ask them to learn or create something new with their parents at home. I had a student that made a solar clock with his father and then he brought at school and we tested it.

If you are a parent you can look up Pinterest for creative projects to do with your child. You can get more specific by adding if it’s for Spring, Summer etc.

You can grow crystals, plant flowers, read a new book etc!

3. Read them about famous people

that persisted in the face of difficulty, like Thomas Edison (the inventor of the lightbulb), Michael Jordan and Jack Ma. Emphasize that these people succeeded not because they were smart, but because they were trying consistently and they kept going despite facing rejection. They formed strong habits of working consistently that did not rely on willpower.

thomas Edison

4. Emphasize their strong points.

They might not be good students academically, but they might be good in football, building sandcastles, playing domino or painting etc. This will improve their self esteem. Don’t forget to celebrate their small successes at schools

children playing football

5. It’s ok to make mistakes.

This is for you, parents and teachers! I meet so many parents that want their children to be perfect and are panicking when their children make a mistake. Well… this is  one of the worst mistakes, that you can make as a parent.

worried man (freepik image)

Freaking out because they did badly, will only make them feel worse and develop a low self-image. Please don’t do this to your children. If they don’t make any mistakes how will they learn? Remember when they started walking? They had to fall sometimes but eventually, they did get up and walked.

To reinforce what I am writing I will add a famous quote:

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. MiCHAEL JORDAN

After all, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

6. Avoid telling them that they are smart

This is very important, especially for strong academically students. Telling them this will only make them be afraid of making mistakes, so they won’t try anything new. They are afraid that if they fail at something, they won’t be smart anymore.  WHEN YOU ARE AFRAID TO TRY, YOU STAY STAGNANT. Reccommended book: Who moved my cheese

boy hiding

7. Have them encourage or help other people in difficult situations

Ask them what they would tell a child younger than them that wants to give up in mathematics. It could be an imaginary friend. This is a good exercise in the classroom. Have them wite encouraging letters to younger children. Make the children messenger of good. Offer them the chance to do something good.

child writes

8. Last but not least

There are many of successful people that did awful in school, but they did succeed in life. Their weaknesses didn’t take them down. They only made them stronger. Look at Richard Branson, Gary Vaynerchuck, Daymond John, and others. (Suggestions accepted)

Read more. Check out this post! Growth mindset comments for kids.

.rowth mindset for children

Margarita Marti is an elementary school teacher with 9 years of experience working at schools. She has an Med in “Creative arts in education”. She wrote and self published a children’s book called “It’s ok to be different”. Don’t forget to check it out here!


Reccomended resources:

Mindsets in the Classroom: Building a Growth Mindset Learning Community
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

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