Growth Mindset

graphic image of outline of a human head with a plant growing inside

What does it mean to have a Growth Mindset?  A person with a growth mindset believes that with hard work and perseverance anyone can grow their brains and get smarter.  The brain is like a muscle, and the more we use this muscle, the stronger it gets.  We need to embrace challenges and view them as opportunities to give our brains the exercise they need to grow.  

cartoon image of a brain lifting weights

A person with a growth mindset has to be willing to take risks and needs to understand that mistakes are part of the learning process.  Without mistakes, our brains wouldn’t be able to grow.  It’s how we handle the mistakes that’s important.  Be resilient and don’t give up!  It’s when our brains are struggling and doing a lot of hard thinking that they grow the most.  We can learn from feedback and by putting in more effort and persistence, we can grow even smarter.  

image of cubes spelling success

With a growth mindset there is no limit to what we can achieve!  Believe in yourself and set your goals high.  With hard work and perseverance, you can do anything!

Grow Your Brain

Parents, if you want to learn more about Dr. Dweck’s research on Growth Mindset, click on the link below to view her TED Talk.

Image of Dr. Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck's TED Talk on Growth Mindset

What can parents do to help their children develop a growth mindset?

  • Teach them that their brains can grow.  The brain is made up of billions of neurons, or tiny cells that help our bodies transmit information.  Each time we are presented with a challenge and persevere more neural connections are established and our brains grow.  Intelligence isn’t fixed; with hard work and determination we can grow our minds.   

  • Embrace a challenge.  Providing children with rigorous opportunities to engage in problem solving and creative thinking will help them to stretch beyond their comfort zones.  That’s where the learning happens.

  • Fail forward.  Help children change their views on failure.  It’s okay to make mistakes.  Each time we fail and try again our brains grow.  Each failure is one step closer to success.

  • Model a growth mindset.  Be a strong example of growth mindset.  Monitor your own actions.  Do you view a challenge as an opportunity to learn or as an arduous task to avoid?  How do you handle failure?  Are you resilient?  Do you give up or do you try a new strategy?  Children are watching the growth mindsets being modeled around them.  

  • Praise the process.  Give children positive praise about their effort, motivation, persistence and progress.  Don’t attribute success to “winning”, “being the best”, or “being smart”.   Focus on the hard work and perseverance that your child demonstrates along their learning journey.

  • Reveal the power of “yet”.  It’s important to help your child use growth mindset language.  When you hear your child say, “This is too hard,” help them to change that to, “I’m not there yet, but I’m going to keep trying.”  “Yet” gives children a path to future success.  

  • Be inspired by the success of others.  So many famous people experienced failures before their successes.  Share some of these stories with your child to inspire them as they proceed along their own pathway to success.