You may be thinking,...ugh Growth Mindset... what in the world is that!?!. Maybe you heard it spoken at your kiddo's school, heard another parent saying it, or maybe this is the first time you have ever laid eyes on it. No matter which boat you're in, we can clear this concept up, and explain how this very idea can be the difference between a child who throws in the towel ( and maybe a tantrum), and one who makes a mistake but still gets up smiling.
So to start, there are actually 2 main mindsets, growth and fixed. Having a growth mindset is the idea that no matter what situation you are in, you can learn from it and grow (hence the name....growth mindset). On the other hand, we have a fixed mindset, which is the concept that no matter what happens, your situation will always stay the same; you either achieve something, or fail. These mindsets travel with us everywhere and they dictate our choices, behaviors, decisions, and when we talk about our kids, these mindsets explain how they view their world.
Let's say for example I am at the skating studio and trying to teach a new skater how to do a waltz jump. When you are on your skates for the first time, finding your center of balance and jumping is something that requires correct positioning, and ...well... honestly a whole lot of practice. The way that you discover where your center is comes from trying, tumbling to the side, and then trying again. It is a skill that may seem simple, but has a lot of (literally) moving pieces involved. Since this move looks simple, but is actually quite hard to master, it is really really easy to get frustrated with it. This is where your mindset comes into play .
Let's image an example student, let's name her Little Susie. Little Susie is trying to learn to do a waltz jump. As well, let's image for a moment that Little Susie is living in a fixed mindset world. She sets up for her jump, steps forwards and leaps into the air. As Little Susie leaps, her body leans to the right, and instead of landing beautifully on her right foot, she misses and tumbles to the floor. As she lays on the floor her inner dialogue begins, "Wow, this is so hard. I am so bad at this. Sigh... I am never going to get it". She slowly becomes more and more frustrated, and starts to lose her motivation. After several attempts, she decides to take her skates off and goes home defeated.
What a sad story, and one that sadly happens quite frequently with our kiddos. They feel like mistakes equal failure, which is so far away from the truth! We want to get our kiddos to see how these mistakes are really the keys to finding a path to success! So... let's take a look into her brain and flip the switch from fixed mindset to growth mindset! ( side note....if only it was actually that easy to change in real life!) Now Little Susie with her new and improved growth mindset, will realize after her fall, that her fall is an awesome amazing learning opportunity! As she tumbles to the side, she stands back up and thinks, "Well that didn't work...maybe I should try leaning the other way". Each time Little Susie picks herself up, brushes off the dust and tries the skill again. (You go Little Susie)! Her mindset keeps her from 'mental burn out' and keeps her ready to face the struggle time and time again.
These mindsets can apply to everything in our kiddos lives. From struggling with a math concept, or having a hard time learning a new language, there are going to be places in their lives where things will be difficult and wont exactly come easy for them. Struggle is natural, and honestly normal, but the place we can always improve on is how we deal with those struggles. Growth mindset allows us to see those struggles in a positive light, to keep going, and overall leave us with happier and healthier kids! Who doesn't want that!
Want some information on how to get your kiddo to use a growth mindset? Have an awesome growth mindset project or idea you would love to share? Let us know and comment below!