“Oh well done Beth! You’ve worked so hard on your maths!”
Rather than Product.
”Oh Ben, you are such a clever boy for getting all your maths right.”
Just as we shouldn’t praise children for being beautiful, we shouldn’t praise children for being clever. Just maybe in this imaginary example, Ben would have got all these sums right because they were easy for him yet Beth, who didn’t get all her maths right, worked twice as hard at this tricky skill. Look at the words used ….Ben was praised for being clever yet Beth was praised for her efforts.
By praising effort, we are enabling children to separate their attributes from how hard they work. In this way, we develop a positive mindset in our children which is so important for later life. Being clever or beautiful is lovely but it is not going to help them achieve in life as they will always meet someone more beautiful or cleverer than they are! Comparing ourselves to others will just lead to unhappiness; being our best self will improve our daily lives. Children can become anxious if they or we, are always comparing them to others.
Here are 10 ways to develop a positive mindset in our children:
1. Emotions are not bad. All emotions are normal and being sad/angry/frustrated are part of daily life. We can’t always be happy. Talking with children about our differing emotions will help them see that experiencing different emotions is normal. It’s what we do with our emotions that counts.
2. Teach resilience. Being able to bounce back from a negative experience is key. Rather than dwelling on the negative emotion or situation, move forward. Some children are better at this than others!
3. Be kind and help others. Showing children how to be kind is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our children. By being kind to our children, they will experience kindness and be able to pass this on.
4. Savour the amazing moments and relive them. Encourage children to identify an amazing moment will help them know what this feels like so they know this feeling in the future. I don’t mean to encourage boasting but for children to feel proud of something is important for self-esteem.
5. Share the positive moments with hugs, laughter and fun. Enjoy these amazing moments together. Find the lovely together.
6. Give them positive affirmations. Tell them they can do this! Teach them to say this mantra to themselves. “I can run this race/pass this test/speak in front of the class”. It’s amazing how positive this can be with children!
7. The world is a wonderous place; take care of it. Instead of instilling fear about the world in our children, tell them what a wonderous place it is! After all, most of it is….
8. Try new things because being open to new things can be amazing. If you don’t try new things how will you know if you like them? Some children are so shy, they don’t want to try anything new. My daughter could be like this so I know how hard it can be. Go with them to new classes or try something together.
9. Have small attainable goals. Life is all about taking small steps towards where you want to be. This is what I tell my teens as they approach their exams. If you want to pass this exam, start here and work towards it. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail your exam? Ok. But you tried your best and that’s ok. If you don’t start now, you’ll never know! You may just pass….
10. Life is a journey. Enjoy every part of it. Teach children that the now is just as important as the next day. Striving for things is important but enjoying the path along the way is called living.