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April 23, 2021 2 min read

We know that parents want the best for their children - they want them to do well in school and turn into successful, happy and well-adjusted adults.  We also know that most parents will do whatever they can to help ensure that success by spending time and money on resources that might give their child an advantage. Despite all of this, however, a better predictor of a child’s success may be the beliefs that they hold about themselves and their abilities, which in turn affect their behavior and choices. This is especially true regarding intelligence, specifically whether or not they believe a person’s intelligence is fixed and unchangeable (Fixed Mindset) or something that can be improved through perseverance, hard work and resilience (Growth Mindset).  

A fixed mindset limits a student’s expectations about their abilities to achieve and learn whereas a growth mindset gives students a greater feeling of control over their learning because achievement is viewed as a result of their efforts.  In addition, students with a growth mindset are intrinsically motivated to learn for the sake of learning and view mistakes or failure not as setbacks, but as opportunities for learning.  Furthermore, according to an article inEducation Week by Sarah D. Sparks, a recent global study has shown that students who have a growth mindset tend to have higher test scores and report a greater sense of well-being than those who have a fixed mindset.  

So how can parents help encourage children to develop a growth mindset?    

  • Instead of giving empty praise like “You’re smart”, be specific about what they did that worked like “Those flashcards seemed to help you prepare for that test.  You should try them again next time.”  

  • Help them set goals including identifying the steps needed to achieve them.

  • Encourage them to see mistakes as challenges and help them reflect on what they could try differently next time.

  • Try adding the word “yet” to your vocabulary. Instead of saying, “I can’t read a book on that level”, say, “I can’t read a book on that levelyet.” 

  • Model a growth mindset yourself!

Children who possess a growth mindset believe that working hard in spite of setbacks and challenges will help then achieve success.  This will not only help them when they are in school, but will serve them well for the rest of their lives.  Therefore, parents should spend time and effort on helping their children develop a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.

Any questions?  Please email us at Janice@Neighborhoodlit.com.  Taylor Burke is a teacher and Director of Communications at Neighborhood Lit. and works closely with Janice Migliazza, a Reading Specialist and owner of Neighborhood Lit, Route 34, Colts Neck to bring you this information.