One of the best things we can do our kids, is help them develop a growth mindset. Kids with a growth mindset believe they are capable and can handle challenges. These are definitely characteristics I want my kids to develop and have as adults. Fixed Mindset: People with a fixed mindset typically believe they aren’t able to learn more or new things, or they get stuck when they make mistakes. They don’t usually like failure and can easily shut down when things get hard. You may hear your kid say, “I am not good at basketball.” Growth Mindset: People with a growth mindset typically believe they can learn new things, expand their brain, and are willing to take on challenges. They know they can learn from mistakes. You may hear your kid say, “I can’t do this yet.” Or “I am still learning how to do math.” Most of us have a little bit of both of these mindsets from time to time. The more we can foster a Growth Mindset in our kids, the more willing they will be to take on challenges and not give up when things get hard. You can read more on Helping Kids Develop a Growth Mindset here.
Here are some conversation starters to use at family dinners, car rides, or anything other chance you have to engage with your kids that will help foster a growth mindset:
- What did you learn today?
- When was a time you didn’t give up?
- When did you solve a problem?
- What steps can you take to solve a new problem?
- What is something you want to improve at doing?
- When did you improve? How? How did it feel?
- What are some goals you have?
- What do you feel/think when you make a mistake?
- What strengths do you have?
- What can you do if you feel like you can’t do something?
- Do you have negative thoughts about yourself or your abilities? How can we rewire those to positive?
- How can I support you?
- What is something new you want to learn?
- What is something hard you did?
- When were you challenged today/this week?
- What was the last hard thing you did?
- What made you think hard?
- What is something easy you did that used to be hard?
- When was the last time you asked for help?
- When was the last time someone asked you for help?
These conversation starters are a great way to get your child thinking about themselves and their lives. Remember, modeling a positive, growth mindset is one of the best ways for our kids to learn how to do it themselves. Let them hear you talk about times you’ve overcome something challenging, or let them see you make mistakes and how you learned.
By: Emily Scott, PhD
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