Ways To Teach Growth Mindset To Kids

Teaching kids a growth mindset is a powerful way to equip them with the tools they need to navigate challenges, embrace learning, and cultivate resilience.

A growth mindset is one of the best tools you can teach your kids because there’s no point at which they graduate from having challenges. They will have this mindset with them forever in their hardest moments, as well as when they consider possibilities for their future.

11 Ways To Teach A Growth Mindset To Kids

Specifically, a growth mindset encourages children to believe in their ability to learn and improve, emphasizing effort, perseverance, and the belief that intelligence and skills can be developed through dedication and practice.

In this blog post, I’m sharing 11 strategies to help you foster a growth mindset in your kids. Let’s dive in!

1. Teach kids about a growth mindset

Start by introducing the concept of a growth mindset to your kids. Explain that their abilities are not fixed and that with effort, practice, and the right strategies, they can improve and achieve their goals.

For example, I might share how I didn’t make the cheerleading squad my seventh grade year, but believed that I could practice, get better, and try again the next year. A fixed mindset would believe, “I’m just not cut out for cheerleading” and give up. But with a growth mindset, I kept trying.

Share examples of a growth mindset compared to a fixed mindset that specifically resonate with your kids to increase their understanding.


2. Share one fail every week

Every week, have each person in the family go around the table at dinner time and share one fail from the week. The key is that the fail needs to be from trying hard (not from not showing up). For example, you might share that you went on a big interview, prepared really well, tried your hardest, and didn’t get the job. This is an example of reframing failure as a good thing. Normalize failure as a part of growth.

Sharing stories of your own failures and setbacks can help your kids understand that missing the mark is a natural part of the learning process. Highlight the lessons learned and the growth that came from those experiences, emphasizing that failures are stepping stones toward success.


3. Emphasize the power of “yet”

Encourage your kids to adopt the word “yet” into their vocabulary. When they say, “I can’t do it,” teach them to add “yet” to the end, transforming it into “I can’t do it yet.” This simple shift in language helps them recognize that they are on a journey of growth and progress. It’s a mindset reframe that will keep them moving forward instead of being stuck.


4. Praise for effort over outcomes

Instead of solely focusing on results, praise your children’s efforts, perseverance, and strategies they used to overcome challenges. By highlighting their hard work and dedication, you reinforce the idea that effort and resilience are more important than immediate success.

For example, instead of caring most about how many points they scored, emphasize and praise how they had a good attitude, were a great teammate, practiced hard, and did their best.

By focusing on the internal instead of the external, you’ll teach your kids that who they are as people is more important than the outcomes they create.

5. Encourage setting goals

Teach your kids about goal setting by modeling setting goals yourself. It’s easy to have the typical, societal goals that we’re all familiar with re: school, activities, academics, jobs, relationships, etc. The problem is that these social goals end late-twenties. This is often where people stop growing. To combat this, be a model of goal setting yourself, as a parent. Set goals and share them with your kids. Then encourage your kids to do the same. For example, maybe you want to instill taking care of your community so you decide to set a personal goal of volunteering 12 times in the next year, once per month. This models to your kids the value of continued goal-setting for the rest of their lives.


6. Normalize negative emotions like fear and embarrassment

Let your children know it’s okay to experience negative emotions like fear, embarrassment, or frustration. Emphasize that these emotions are a natural part of learning and growing. Encourage them to view these emotions as signals that they are challenging themselves and to embrace them as opportunities for growth.

On default, it’s common to want to prevent our kids from feeling fear and embarrassment. It sounds like this: “it’s okay, I’m sure you’re not going to do that, so you won’t be embarrassed!” Really, what that’s saying is that embarrassment is a bad thing and should be avoided. Instead, encourage them to go for it and if they feel embarrassed, that’s okay. Teach them how to welcome all emotions.


7. Give them positive affirmations

Regularly provide positive affirmations to boost your child’s confidence and self-belief. Encourage them to use affirmations such as “I can do this,” “I am capable of learning new things,” or “I have the power to improve.” These positive statements reinforce a growth mindset and help counter negative self-talk.

Bonus points if you can drip in positive self-talk examples in the moment that you use yourself. For example, you might say to yourself, under your breath, “wow this is harder than I thought but you know what, I can do hard things.” By modeling positive self-talk you’re modeling a growth mindset.


8. Encourage problem solving

Teach your kids problem-solving skills and strategies to overcome obstacles. Encourage them to break problems into smaller parts, brainstorm multiple solutions, and evaluate the potential outcomes. By equipping them with problem-solving skills, you empower them to approach challenges with a growth mindset.

For example, if you have two kids who are fighting and they come to you for a resolution, instead of playing the arbitrator, say something like this: “Hmm this is a tricky situation, but we are really excellent problem solvers in our family, so I’m thinking we can solve this one together. Do either of you have any ideas?” This way you’re helping (to the extent you need to), while building problem-solving skills, without doing it for them.

9. Demonstrate a team-mentality

Encourage collaboration and teamwork among your kids. Emphasize the importance of supporting and learning from one another. When your kids see their peers succeeding or making progress, they are more likely to believe in their own abilities and be motivated to grow. You can encourage this by praising examples of teamwork.

10. Introduce role models

Share stories of people who have achieved success through hard work, perseverance, and a growth mindset. Highlight the challenges they faced and how they overcame them. Introducing role models provides children with tangible examples of the power of a growth mindset. You might even find age-appropriate biographies, shows, or stories to share as examples.

11. Model a growth mindset

Kids learn best by observing the behavior of those around them. Model a growth mindset in your own actions and attitudes. Let them see you embracing challenges, persisting in the face of setbacks, and continuing to learn and grow. Your example will inspire and reinforce the value of a growth mindset in their lives.

A Final Note

Teaching a growth mindset to children is a transformative gift that will serve them throughout their lives. By implementing these 11 strategies, you can help your children develop resilience, a love for learning, and the belief that they can overcome challenges and achieve their goals.

So, start implementing these strategies today and witness the incredible transformation that occurs as your children embrace the power of a growth mindset. They will not only become more successful learners but also develop into individuals who are unafraid to take risks, embrace challenges, and reach their full potential.