Does your child have a growth mindset?

What is a 'mindset'?

A mindset is simply a belief about yourself and your most fundamental qualities like ability, personality and talents. 

People with fixed mindsets believe that fundamental qualities like intelligence are essentially stable: they don't change much over time.  People with growth mindsets believe that these qualities are ‘growable': they are susceptible to change and can flourish in certain circumstances and wither in others. (Hymer and Gershon - 2014).


Change your words - Change your mindset

Changing the language we use with children can impact on their belief that they can flourish. Try to avoid phrases which praise ability rather than effort.  Instead of saying "Clever boy/girl!", try saying "You tried really hard and didn't give up."

Remember, the brain is like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger and quicker it gets.  Without failure, there is no growth - failure drives us to change.  

FAIL - First Attempt In Learning.

Emphasise the power of the word ‘yet'.  When a child faces a challenge, or even a failure, remind them that they have just not learnt to do this YET.

By changing words that we (adults) use, our children will begin to change they ways in which they approach their learning.


Intsead of saying...


Try saying....


I'm rubbish at this.

What can I do to improve?

This will do.

Is this my best work?

I'll never do it, it's too hard!

This may take some time and effort.

I just can't do this.

I'm going to try a different strategy.

I'm not clever enough to do this.

I will learn how to do this.

I can't make this any better.

I can always improve my work.

I made a mistake.

Mistakes help me to learn and improve.

Plan A didn't work.

Now to try Plan B.


If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, seek new strategies, and keep on learning. (Dweck 2017)

'If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got'  Albert Einstein

Recommended further reading:

‘Mindsets - how you can fulfil your further potential'   Dr Carol S Dweck
'Growth Mindset Pocketbook'   Barry Hymer and Mike Gershon

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