Counselor Corner: Nurturing a Growth Mindset During Challenging Times
While the future is uncertain during Covid-19, learning never stops. Students are simply learning differently. It is important during this time of uncertainty and changes to their learning environment, that children learn how to maintain a growth mindset.
Mindset and its impact on performance and learning has been long studied by psychologist Carol Dweck. Dr. Dweck found that people’s theories about their own intelligence had a significant impact on their motivation, effort, and approach to challenges. Those with a growth mindset believe their abilities are malleable and are more likely to embrace challenges and persist despite failure. During challenging times, such as Covid-19, students with a growth mindset stay focused on their learning, demonstrate increased effort, persist in the face of setbacks, and have a willingness to learn from their mistakes. A growth mindset ignites student learning. In contrast, those with a fixed mindset give up more easily, avoid things that are challenging, and are less likely to seek help when needed. A fixed mindset can hold back a student from learning.
Here are some tips to develop and nurture your child’s growth mindset during this difficult and volatile time:
Start the day with a positive expectation. When your child first wakes up, help them to come up with a positive expectation about the day. “I expect that today I will learn something new” or “I expect that I will be able to do something challenging today.”
Practice gratitude. Encourage your child to list three things that they are thankful about the day.
Practice self-care. Discuss at least 2-3 things that they can do to take care of their mind and body (eat a healthy snack, go outside and ride my bike, schedule a Zoom call with a friend or family member)
Focus on solutions rather than the problem. If your child is struggling, say to them, “what might be a solution to help you with this?”
Talk about ways to make someone smile. (send a thank you note to their teacher, write kind messages with chalk, tell someone a funny joke, offer to help with a chore around the house)
Practice the process vs. the person. Instead of “Great job! You must be so smart at this”, try saying, “Great job! You must have worked really hard.” Instead of “You are such a great student”, try saying, “I loved how you stayed at the table, concentrated on the Zoom meeting, and kept working.”
Encouraging the word “Yet”. When you catch your child saying, “I can’t do this,” remind them, “They can’t do it Yet!
Role model growth mindset. Allow your child to see your own effort, perseverance, and resilience when things are challenging.
Resources to use with your child to talk about and practice growth mindset:
Websites to learn more about growth mindset:
Please do not hesitate to reach out to school counselor, Leah Molloy, at L.firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions and/or concerns about your child's social/emotional well-being during this challenging time.