How can we help children develop a growth mindset? - Hindustan Times

How can we help children develop a growth mindset?

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Aug 07, 2023 07:47 PM IST

Experts share tips for parents to help children develop a growth mindset

A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort, perseverance and learning from mistakes hence, developing a growth mindset in children is crucial for their long-term success and well-being. To help children develop a growth mindset, we must first foster a culture that celebrates effort and resilience.

How can we help children develop a growth mindset? (Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash)
How can we help children develop a growth mindset? (Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT lifestyle, Dr Kulneet Suri, Senior Director of IMS Noida, shared, “For a child's wellbeing and general development, mental and behavioural health are of utmost importance; parents and children must travel this path together. One in six kids between the ages of 6 and 10 has a mental, behavioural or developmental impairment, claim researchers. It is extremely important that children have strong bonding with their parents and family members-this boosts the self-esteem of a child and helps a child and the parents to identify and handle difficult situations with ease. Also it is important for parents to understand in the first place why the mental fitness of their child must be their focus and priority.”

She advised, “Practising open communication with your child, building trust and reciprocity can help parents integrate and lower their child's stress levels. Help children recognize and replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Encourage them to reframe their thoughts to be more optimistic and growth-oriented. Developing a growth mindset is an ongoing process, and each child may progress at their own pace. Consistency and patience are key in helping children adopt and embrace a growth mindset as a foundation for their future success.”

Highlighting that a growth mindset helps children become more resilient, motivated and open to new challenges, Dr Neelima Kamrah, Principal of KIIT World School at Gurugram, recommended some few tips to help children develop a growth mindset -

1-Teach the concept of a growth mindset: Start by explaining the difference between a fixed mindset (believing abilities are fixed and unchangeable) and a growth mindset. Help children understand that their abilities can improve through effort and practice.

2-Praise effort and process: Instead of solely focusing on outcomes or innate abilities, praise children for their effort, hard work, and the strategies they use.

3-Foster a love for learning: Help children see learning as an exciting and enjoyable process. Encourage them to explore new interests, try different activities, and pursue their curiosity.

4-Model a growth mindset: Children learn by observing the behaviour of adults around them. Display a growth mindset in your own actions and words. Share stories of your own challenges, how you overcame them, and the lessons you learned.

According to Pratibha Sharma, Academic Director of Bhai Parmanand Vidya Mandir in East Delhi, encouraging children to take risks, step outside their comfort zones and tackle challenges head-on instills in them the belief that their abilities are not fixed but rather expandable with effort and determination. She explained, “When they see that their hard work pays off and leads to progress, they develop the confidence and motivation to take on even greater challenges. Demonstrating resilience, embracing challenges, and openly sharing our own learning journeys creates a safe and supportive space for children to do the same. When they see that even adults face obstacles and setbacks, yet continue to learn and grow, they are inspired to adopt the same mindset.”

She elaborated, “Providing constructive feedback is another vital aspect of nurturing a growth mindset. Instead of focusing solely on outcomes or grades, we must emphasise the process and effort invested. By highlighting specific strategies, approaches or areas for improvement, we help children understand that setbacks and mistakes are stepping stones to growth. When they receive feedback that is focused on improvement rather than judgment, they develop a sense of agency and take ownership of their learning journey. Engaging children in reflective practices, goal-setting exercises and opportunities for self-assessment helps them develop metacognitive skills.”

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