The importance of a Growth Mindset

What is a Growth Mindset?

A growth mindset is the opposite to a fixed mindset. It’s the idea that intelligence can be developed by embracing challenges, putting in effort and learning from feedback. Those who have a growth mindset are inspired by the success of others, unlike those with a fixed mindset who are threatened by the success of others. People with a fixed mindset often ignore feedback, avoid tasks which they deem to be difficult and desire rewards without putting in the effort. Those with a growth mindset embrace failure, seeing it as an opportunity to grow! Whereas those who have a fixed mindset will be deterred and demotivated by failure.

Why having a Growth Mindset is important

The impact and influence parents have on their children cannot be overemphasised. The things you do around the house, your use of language and actions all help your child develop their mindset either to grow or remain stuck. As a parent you should be encouraging your child to find challenges fun. You should not praise a child’s achievement but instead praise children for the effort they have put into achieving something.

Children and adults alike who have a growth mindset believe abilities, intelligence and skills are developed over time through effort, determination and a positive outlook. A fixed mindset believes that intelligence, skills and abilities cannot be changed, and whatever a child is born with is all they get to be. Fixed mindsets therefore lead children to giving up if they find something too hard, whereas growth mindsets will encourage a child to work harder; joy is found from the process of the task not the outcome. Those who harbour a growth mindset are therefore much more resilient as they are not deterred by failure, instead they are encouraged to try again and improve.

Parents who implement strategies to encourage their children to have a growth mindset ensure their children become better this way. Whereas parents who harbour a fixed mindset in their child by praising achievements onlu and being disappoint if their child ‘fails’ a test, ultimately end up demotivating their child. This is no good for a child during their educational journey as failure is a big part of learning.

There are many reasons why a growth mindset is important. Some of them include:
Increased confidence

A growth mindset helps to increase the confidence of a child. When you let your child make mistakes, and allow them to grow from them, they become better risk-takers who are not afraid to make mistakes and try new things for fear of looking silly.

They are not afraid to speak up, think independently or be unique and this will make them better leaders. These are traits that will make them stand out in the competitive world of work as adults.

Better grades

As a child’s confidence soars, so do their grades. They tend to enjoy the learning process more because they are not under the pressure of perfection. They approach learning with positivity, curiosity and a willingness to try. They look for new ways to make things work.  Their end goal is to learn. This builds their problem-solving skills and invariably their grades.

Emotional and mental health

Mental and emotional health are getting more focus currently than ever before. This is because people are becoming more aware that the way a person responds to a situation, whether positive or negative, is a result of how healthy their mental or emotional state is.

When you raise your children with a growth mindset, they grow up to be emotionally balanced.  Encouraging them, speaking positive words, taking their feelings into consideration and not berating them for feeling a certain way are ways you can improve the growth mindset of your child. Your child will then grow to be emotionally expressive, communicative, more open to different ideas and capable of handling different situations.

Critical thinking and success in life

We live in a world of ‘influencer culture’. Your child is going to be exposed to a lot of ideas, opinions, trends and expectations. The growth mindset is important here because your child needs to be able to think for themselves. Critical thinking is key to success.

Successful people are people who can think for themselves and can move away from the general opinions of others. They are comfortable making their own decisions even if it is not a trend. The mindset you instil in your child will help determine if they will be successful or not in their future.

How to cultivate a Growth Mindset in your child
1. Emphasise the power of “yet”

Encouraging children to add the word “yet” to their vocabulary can transform their mindset. For instance, when a child says, “I can’t solve this maths problem,” prompt them to rephrase it as, “I can’t solve this maths problem yet.” This subtle change helps them realise that abilities are not fixed but can be developed with time and effort. By embracing the notion of progress over perfection, children learn that setbacks are temporary and that continued effort can lead to growth and success.

2. Celebrate effort and the process of progress

Praising a child’s effort, persistence, and dedication rather than solely focusing on outcomes can foster a growth mindset. By acknowledging the steps they took to achieve a goal, we shift their attention from the end result to the journey itself. This helps children recognise that their hard work and determination are crucial for personal growth, regardless of the outcome. By valuing the process, children develop resilience, become more willing to take risks, and learn to view mistakes as opportunities for learning and improvement.

3. Encourage a love for learning

Instilling a love for learning in children can fuel their motivation to continuously expand their knowledge and skills. Encourage curiosity by fostering a stimulating environment that exposes them to new ideas, books, and experiences. Encourage them to ask questions, explore different subjects, and engage in creative problem-solving activities. By nurturing a passion for learning, children develop an intrinsic motivation that propels them to seek challenges and persevere through difficulties.

4. Foster a Growth Mindset language

The language we use significantly impacts children’s mindset. Encourage them to replace fixed mindset statements such as “I’m not good at this” with growth mindset affirmations like “I can improve with practice.” Teach them to embrace challenges as opportunities to grow, see failures as stepping stones to success, and view feedback as valuable input for improvement. By adopting growth-oriented language, children develop a positive internal dialogue and become more resilient in the face of adversity.

One last note

Cultivating a growth mindset in children is a transformative process that requires consistent effort, patience, and modelling from parents, teachers, and caregivers. By emphasising the power of “yet,” celebrating effort and process, fostering a love for learning, and promoting growth mindset language, we can equip children with the tools they need to face challenges with resilience, embrace continuous improvement, and unlock their full potential. By nurturing a growth mindset, we empower the next generation to thrive in a dynamic and ever-changing world.

For more help & advice on your child's learning journey, book a FREE 15 minute consultation with one of our education experts

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