Growth Mindset

Parenting is really hard.
Having a growth mindset helps.


Research shows that parents can have a powerful impact on their childrens’ mindsets. The language you use and the actions you take show your children what you expect. Giving process praise, talking about the brain, accepting mistakes as learning opportunities, and understanding the role of emotions in learning are all practices you can begin today.

Say This, Not That!


The way we praise our children can have a profound impact on their mindset. Research on praise and mindsets shows that when we praise children for being smart, it promotes a fixed mindset. It sends a message that their accomplishments are trait-based, and tied to something innate. In contrast, praising kids for working hard promotes a growth mindset. It sends a message that the child’s effort is what led them to success. 


Say This Not That!

“I can see you worked so hard on this!”

Say this because it helps your children to understand that you value their efforts

“You are so smart!”

Don't say this because it makes them thinkl that intelligence is a fixed quality.

“It seems like it’s time to try a new way.”

Say this because it lets your children know that they can control the outcomes by making a choice.

“It’s okay. Maybe you’re just not cut out for this!”

Don't say this because it makes children think that they don't have the capacity to improve.

“I like watching you do that.”

Say this because it conveys a message of approval of an activity they enjoy doing regardless of the outcome.

“You're a natural at that!”

Don't say this because next time your child fails or doesn't succeed makes them believe that they don't have talent after all.

“It looks like that was too easy for you. Let’s find you something challenging so your brain can grow.”

Say this because it teaches children that learning should be challenging, and that if it is too easy their brain isn't growing.

“That’s right! You did that so quickly and easily; great job!”

Don't say this because praising tasks completed without much effort paints effort in a negative light and encourages a fixed mindset.

“That’s not right. You don’t understand this yet. What strategies can you try to understand it better?”

Say this because it's important to be honest about what your child knows and doesn't know, but also explain you believe that they have the capability to improve.

“That’s not right. Are you paying attention in class? It seems like you’re not even trying.“

Don't say this because the fight or flight response may prevent your child from giving their best effort in class.

“That was really hard. Your effort has paid off! Next time you’ll be ready for this kind of challenge!”

Say this because it reminds children of their capability to overcome challenges by putting forth alot of effort and this cultivates a growth midset.

“That was really hard. I’m so glad it’s over and you don’t have to do that again.”

Don't say this because there will always be challenges, and children should feel that they have the tools for what comes next.

“You’ve worked hard to become a good writer. You should challenge yourself with an advanced class, and learn something you don’t know how to do yet.”

Say this because putting your children into the challenge zone creates a lifelong learner.

“You have a real talent for writing. You should take a creative writing class because you’re so good at it.”

Don't say this because if you only encourage children to do what they are good at they will be afraid to take risks and learn something new.