Over the last 5 weeks we’ve shared simple ways to boost wellbeing in children. We hope parents, grandparents, carers, teachers – and anyone else who cares for children and young people – will find them useful. The full series are on our website, click here to read them.
Being resilient means bouncing back when you encounter challenges, set backs or failures. We all go through times when we struggle, so building our resilience is crucial to helping us cope.
One way to build resilience in children is to help them develop a growth mindset. This relates to the belief that our abilities and intelligence can develop with practice, feedback and effort. At the other end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset, the belief that our intelligence is fixed and there isn’t much we can do to change it.
Children with a growth mindset are more likely to try again when they fail at something, and also to attempt to learn how they can improve. Research into this ‘gritty’ quality and growth mindset approach shows that learning from failure is one of the crucial tools for success and resilience. In contrast, children with a fixed mindset tend to give up when they encounter failure, believing that that just don’t have what it takes.
Here are three ways to encourage your child to adopt a growth mindset:
1) Add the word ‘yet’
Changing the way you talk about intelligence can help your child understand that learning is a process, and that our abilities and traits are not fixed from birth. When your child claims ‘I can’t do this’ (whether they’re talking about a new hobby, their homework, or tying a shoelace), say ‘You can’t do it YET’. Adding this tiny word emphasises the learning process.
2) Practise (and fail) with others
Trying new things can be scary, but it’s often less scary when you do it with others. As a family, you might decide to try something new and celebrate your failures when it doesn’t work (the 1st, 2nd, or even 99th time!). Children can learn a lot from hearing adults respond kindly to themselves when things don’t work out – and then from seeing them try again.
3) Find inspirational stories of success and failure
With the Winter Olympics about to start, it’s a great time to have conversations about how these athletes are able to achieve such elite levels of performance. Talent alone doesn’t make you an Olympian. You have to be prepared to dedicate years of training, sacrifice many things, and learn to accept – and grow from – failure to achieve these remarkable accomplishments. These conversations about inspirational people and their achievements can help reinforce the growth mindset message.
Thank you so much for joining us on our 5 weeks of wellbeing for children. If you try any of these ideas, we’d love to hear how it goes: the successes and the failures!
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