September 7, 2023 // by Rebecca Wagner, LMHC

A growth mindset is a pattern of thinking that focuses on effort, progress, and resilience in the face of challenges. Caring Pediatrics' mental health counselor, Rebecca Wagner, LMHC, explores the power of a growth mindset and provides strategies to help your child have this mindset for the upcoming school year.

1. Understanding the growth mindset

A growth mindset encourages us to learn from our mistakes, overcome fear and failure, and explore the world around us. 

A growth mindset focuses on the belief in working hard and not giving up. This mindset helps us to see mistakes as an opportunity to learn, have an open mind, and grow.

2. Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities

Everyone makes mistakes, and that's okay!

Help your child view mistakes as chances to learn, improve, and grow. Encourage them to think about what went wrong, find new solutions, and try again. It's healthy for children to view mistakes as a learning opportunity because it will encourage them to become better problem solvers.

3. Model and encourage positive self-talk

How a child sees their parents think can impact their mindset, opinions, and views.

It's helpful for parents to be mindful of how they accept and talk about their own mistakes and challenges. For example, say, "I haven't figured out this math problem yet, but I will if I keep trying." Using positive words like "yet" can show children that you believe in yourself and that learning takes effort, time, and patience.

4. Praise effort and progress

When your child does well, focus on how hard they worked and the progress they've made.

Instead of just saying, "Good job," talk about the strategies they used and how they never gave up. This type of language will highlight the child's efforts and hard work. Encourage your child to reflect on their progress and not only the result or outcome.

5. Set realistic goals and celebrate progress

Goals can motivate your child to do their best.

Encourage them to set goals that are possible to achieve. Breaking big goals into smaller steps or tasks makes them more manageable and less overwhelming. As the child takes steps toward their goal, it's important to celebrate their progress and achievements along the way! Explain to your children that learning, improvement, and growth happen over time. 

For example, if your child’s goal is to finish a chapter book, even if you start with 5 minutes per day, in time, the entire book will be read.

6. Encourage curiosity and a love for learning

Support your child's curiosity and interests. Encourage your child to explore new things and take risks.

7. Foster a supportive learning environment

Create a safe and supportive home environment where your child feels comfortable making mistakes and asking for help. This can help your child build confidence to embrace future challenges

Teaching our children the power of a growth mindset can help them face new situations and enjoy learning new skills. As the new school year approaches, encouraging this mindset can help children succeed both emotionally and academically.