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Parent SEL Newsletter: Growth Mindset March 2021

According to Carol Dweck, a psychologist and researcher at Stanford University, people who have a growth mindset believe that their skills and abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work, and their talent is just their starting point. Alternatively, people with a fixed mindset believe that their talent and intelligence are innate and fixed.

A growth mindset can contribute to greater achievement as well as increased effort and resilience. In school, children who have a growth mindset tend to see mistakes as opportunities to learn and they also demonstrate better problem solving skills. Children with fixed mindsets are often concerned about looking smart and tend to give up when they face a challenge or obstacle.

Are you concerned that your child has a fixed mindset? Don't despair as it's never too late to develop a growth mindset. Please see below for tips on encouraging your child to have a growth mindset.

5 Tips to Encourage a Growth Mindset

  1. Teach your child about the brain and how it works- A fun way to do this is by teaching children that their brain is like a muscle that is strengthened through hard work and persistence. Neurons form new and stronger connections when we practice and learn new things. For a fun video to teach this from the Khan Academy, click here
  2. Teach kids about the differences between a growth and fixed mindset- Here's a video that may help: Growth vs. Fixed Mindset
  3. Praise effort over outcome- We tend to praise children for their accomplishments, rather than the process. When we say, "You're so smart," or "You got the highest score," we are inadvertently reinforcing a fixed mindset. If we praise the process, we change this and encourage a sense of self-efficacy and a growth mindset. So, try swapping out that praise with, "You worked so hard," or "I'm really proud of how you tried different solutions until you figured it out."
  4. Normalize mistakes- Teach your children that mistakes are part of the learning process. You can say things like, "Mistakes mean you're trying," or, "Mistakes mean we have to keep testing new ideas."
  5. Teach the power of "yet"- Adding these three simple letters to the end of our sentences can make a huge difference in our outlook. See more below.

The Power of Yet

Another way to encourage children to have a growth mindset is by teaching them about the power of "yet." A simple way to do this is to reframe defeatist statements by adding "yet" at the end, as "yet" implies it will happen in a matter of time. For instance, if your child says, "I can't do it," try reframing this to, "I can't do it--yet." If your child says, "This doesn't make sense," you could respond, "This doesn't make sense-yet." A simple three letter word, can change our outlook and reframe our mind.

Books that Teach Kids About Growth Mindsets

Virtual Classroom: Growth Mindset

Use this link to access the Growth Mindset Virtual Classroom.

Growth Mindset Dinner Table Conversations

  1. What did you do today that made you think hard?
  2. What happened today that made you keep going?
  3. What mistake did you make that taught you something?
  4. Is there anything you are struggling with? What strategies can you use to help you keep going?
  5. What would you like to become better at?
  6. When do you feel smart? When you’re doing something flawlessly or when you’re learning something new?
  7. What does it mean to GROW?
  8. What do you think MINDSET means?
  9. What does it mean to have a FIXED mindset?
  10. What will you do to challenge yourself today?
Created By
Elizabeth Gianulis
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