Remember a while back when I was talking about having a growth mindset? Well to piggy back on that, I wanted to point you to a set of super short but inspiring (and adorable) videos you can share with your children. The videos follow a character named Mojo. One day, Mojo has a tough time in math, "realizes" he isn't smart, and decides he may as well just give up...but then a friend helps him learn about the growth mindset. The videos' messages are simple but impactful, and while geared toward younger kids, older children would certainly benefit from taking a look.
And while we're talking about the growth mindset again, I figured now's a good opportunity to share some info on self-esteem. As we know, self-esteem is critical for students' success -- not just academically, but also socially and emotionally -- and it's also a big part of developing a growth mindset. This handout provides some great tips and strategies for helping ensure children develop and maintain healthy self-esteem. (And you might be surprised: building self-esteem isn't all about praise and stroking egos -- kids need to experience setbacks, too!)
November 14-18 is School Psychology Awareness Week and this year's theme is Small Steps Change Lives. As we know, long-term goals and achievements are not realized overnight. Success is usually the result of hard work, practice, persistence, and trial-and-error. This often takes time and requires many small steps along the way to the larger goal. The resulting path can be filled with obstacles that may hinder progress but, with persistence, don’t stop it completely. In supporting children's own positive paths, we can reinforce persistence by recognizing and celebrating their small steps towards achieving their goals. (Also check out my last post on growth mindset, which shares a similar philosophy.)
There are many ways families can help children make positive changes in small increments. As parents and caregivers, you can:
Did you know that in 2003-2004, NC served close to 194,000 students with disabilities? And did you know that on top of academic challenges, children with disabilities often experience more difficulty making friends and becoming involved with school/community activities compared to their nondisabled peers? October is Disability History and Awareness Month (DHAM), and the theme behind DHAM is that children are uniquely capable. The purpose of DHAM is to educate everyone about the many abilities people with disabilities have. You can read more about DHAM here.
In light of DHAM, I wanted to share research by Carol Dweck, which is captured in her book, Mindset. Dr. Dweck emphasizes the benefits of maintaining a “growth mindset,” in which people believe they can develop their skills through practice and dedication, as opposed to a “fixed mindset” wherein people believe intelligence and talent are fixed traits that cannot be changed. Her website describes the concept in more detail.
Every child – every person, really – experiences their own set of challenges. But, every individual also has their own set of wonderful strengths that should be recognized, celebrated, and built upon to foster greater confidence and happiness. With this in mind, consider incorporating a growth mindset in your family. For example, rather than saying, “Wow, great job getting a 3 on your test!” you could say, “Wow, your hard work reviewing your vocabulary words really paid off!” Check out the graphic below for more examples, and take a look at this article to find more ways to incorporate a growth mindset with your children.
Give the growth mindset a try -- I bet you’ll see it can lead to some really powerful, positive changes!