“I can’t do it”
“This is too hard”
“I am not good at this.”
“I’m not good enough”
How often have we said those words to ourselves? How many times have these very thoughts held us back from taking a new risk or trying something new? I would bet a lot.
We want our kid’s inner voices to be very different. We want to change “I can’t” to “I can” and “This is too hard” to “I can do hard things”. We want our kids to come up against things that are new to them and think “I am not good at this… yet”.
We want to build a growth mindset in our kids so that they meet challenges with curiosity and setbacks as a learning opportunity. We want them to realize that every hard thing they face is a chance to use their awesome problem-solving skills. That their brains are capable of coming up with another strategy or trying a new approach.
But how do we do that?
Well, it starts with us. We need to build our OWN growth mindset and model it to our kids. When we hit a challenge we want to verbally explain to our kids how we know our brains are powerful to come up with another strategy. We want to show them that we are all capable of learning new things. And show them when things are hard for us. We want our kids to see that learning takes time and that it doesn’t need to be a perfect process. There will be setbacks and plot twists, but what matters is how we handle them.
We can also support our kids by reframing their own thoughts. When they start to say things like “this isn’t perfect” we want to remind them that perfection isn’t the goal, that learning takes time, and that the process is the most important part. Or when your kid says “I can’t do it”, instead of saying “yes you can!”, try saying “it may feel hard right now. But learning takes time, and all of us can learn new things.”
Having a growth mindset is the difference between stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new, and staying stuck in a cycle of fixed, negative thoughts. Let’s work on breaking negative thought cycles in our kids and building their growth mindset.