It’s a common scenario within a household. A parent wants their child to succeed in a certain skill, be it a sport, academics, or even an instrument. Knowing how important practice is to their child’s success in that skill, the parent pushes the child to keep practicing even through failure. However, what if this is the wrong approach to help your kid learn a new skill?
Research has shown that children who believe in the idea that they have the ability to improve tend to outperform those that don’t in the long run. This “growth mindset” is even cited as the reason some children are more successful as adults than others. This means that maybe instead of trying to convince your child to practice the piano for the third time a given week, it might be more productive to spend that time convincing your child they have what it takes to improve.
Here are three ways you can foster a growth mindset in your child.
Let them struggle and fail
If you see your child struggling, don’t step in too early and help them. By allowing them to struggle, you not only give them the opportunity to improve by themselves, but also the opportunity to learn that they have the ability to do so. This belief that they have the ability to improve is the basis behind the growth mindset.
Letting your child struggle also helps normalize failure with your child. With no negative stigmas like shame or embarrassment, associated with failure, your child will learn to be okay with failing. The more accustomed to failure your child becomes, the quicker they will be to bounce back and try again.
Emphasize effort over the result
Even if your child fails at a task, reward them if they had put in a lot of effort. This will help encourage your child to try again, and to continue putting in the hours to get to the next level.
This also works the other way around. If your child excels at a certain task without much effort, you should work with your child to find a new goal that would challenge them at their level. Of course, you can be proud of them for being naturally talented, but the idea here is to teach your child that they have room to grow — no matter their level.
Use vocabulary that emphasizes growth
How you and your child phrase sentences is very important. If your child tells you that they can’t solve a certain math problem, remind them that it’s because they just haven’t gotten it yet. This type of language subconsciously reminds your child that they eventually will get it, as long as they continue practicing.
A growth mindset is an invaluable asset that can help your child lead a successful and happy life. Don’t forget that such a mindset in your child also starts with you. It’s important that you also serve as a model for further reinforcing these principles. So, make sure you’re embodying them as well, especially when around your child!
A growth mindset is an invaluable asset that can help your child lead a successful and happy life. Don’t forget that such a mindset in your child also starts with you. It’s important that you also serve as a model for further reinforcing these principles