Five Ways To Develop A Growth Mindset In Kids This Year

Developing a growth mindset involves being willing to face challenges, having a fascination for learning, and treating failure as a springboard for further development.

As adults, we are all bound by our mindsets, which are a culmination of our experience, interaction, education and faith. Our mindset influences our approach to new situations as well as the choices we make. While we can modify our mindset, it needs a lot of effort and motivation to want to do so.

However, in the case of our children, we do not deal with much baggage. They are just starting their exposure to social structures, experiences and education. 

Dr Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, categorises mindset into two types: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Children with a growth mindset believe they can develop their intelligence and abilities with effort and the right strategies. Developing a growth mindset involves being willing to face challenges, having a fascination for learning, and treating failure as a springboard for further development. Whereas children with a fixed mindset believe they have limited control over outcomes and cannot enhance their intelligence or abilities through practice or learning. Thus, mistakes are often considered failures rather than growth and learning opportunities. 

It is at childhood when we are best poised to learn, develop and adopt an attitude that enables a growth mindset. As part of developing the growth mindset, children should be excited by challenges, curious about mistakes, enjoy effort, and never give up. The following are some ways we can instil a growth mindset in our children.

New Experiences 

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand." – Confucius

Exposure to new experiences leads to children connecting the dots in their brain, thereby enhancing memory recollection and motivation to try new things. A host of research and science confirms that children build a strong foundation of different skills at different stages of development. These are learned by building brain connections called neural pathways. The more these neural pathways are used, the stronger they get. 

By engaging children in hands-on experiences and reflection, they are better able to connect theories and knowledge learned in the classroom to real-world situations. At BrainGymJr, we endeavour to fortify learning through a range of puzzles enabling application and problem-solving.

Make Challenges Fun 

“You never fail until you stop trying.” —Albert Einstein

We are all afraid to try new things. Fear is the first response to a new challenge, simply because we do not feel in control and do not know what to expect as an outcome. However, that does not mean we give up.

For every new experience, children go through a journey from ‘I will not do it’ to ‘ I have done it’. For this, the challenges must be in incremental and achievable steps. Children need to feel the gratification that comes with every milestone achievement. This motivates them and nudges them upwards. 

Wrong Answers are not Bad 

Children need a secure environment at their home and any other place of learning. They need to be encouraged to try, even if they get it wrong. Also, as educators or parents, we need to be able to give direction to the correct answer so that the learning is complete. BrainGymJr not only customises difficulty levels intelligently, but we also give instant solutions so children learn and remember.

Wrong answers at an early age, lead to right answers as adults.

Practice makes Perfect 

If you do not use a muscle or any part of the body, it tends to become atrophic. So is the case with the brain. The more you use it, the better it becomes. - Shakuntala Devi

Children need to be taught that their brains are like muscles and can be strengthened through practice and perseverance. Positive reinforcement to regularly practice and create winning outcomes helps in creating a sense of self-efficacy and control over outcomes. The brain can be trained with focused effort and regular practice.

Make Thinking a Habit

“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit. You are what you repeatedly do.” – Shaquille ONeal

The human brain is wired to look for shortcuts. The more you practice, the brain starts looking for newer and shorter ways of doing the same thing. This makes us more efficient. A shortcut that is rewarded, helps us form a habit. A good habit is extremely efficient as it helps us save time and we can focus on new and varied activities. It is important to make ‘thinking’, application and problem solving a habit to enable a strong growth mindset.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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