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A growth mindset is one of the best things a child can have to set them up on a path towards success - but the responsibility doesn't have to fall solely on you as a parent.
Developing a growth mindset is one of the most important and foundational things a young child can do. It inspires motivation, encourages progress, and helps foster a genuine and passionate for learning that isn't easy to replicate through any other means.
Not only does having a growth mindset teach your child all the qualities they need to succeed - qualities like perseverance, like determination, like self-confidence - it also gives them the power to stretch their limits, to try again and again until they're able to leap over a tricky obstacle all on their own.
The term "growth mindset" was first coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, who uses it to describe a certain mindset in children that lets them believe in their future potential rather than their current capabilities.Dweck explains in her 2014 TED Talk that young students with a growth mindset possess a few key traits that set them apart from those without one. They don't run from difficult problems; they challenge themselves. They aren't afraid of failure, because they'd rather take the risk to chase success. They're always dedicated beyond expectations. They believe inthemselves, first and foremost; not anything else.
Naturally, the children who think this way are a lot more likely to succeed, since their mindset grants them the hard-practiced strength, motivation, and resilience needed for them to power on through hard times. But where does such a powerful tool come from? A growth mindset isn't something that can magically appear overnight, that's for sure. It requires training your way of thinking. It requires grit.
That's the exact reason starting early and strong is so important. When it comes to raising your children and helping foster their mindset into a positive one, a steady source of support is the best thing they can get - and of course, as a parent, the bulk of the responsibility involved in building their character will have to fall on your shoulders.
But there's no need to get nervous about it! There's a wealth of resources you can make use of to help, and they might even be found in the least likely of places... like that funny animated movie you watched with your child last week at the theatre, or that YouTube video that popped up in your recommendations page.
With that being said, here are a total of 8 resources to show kids to get them started on developing a growth mindset at an early age, all in the neat and accessible package of one of the most engaging forms of media there is: videos.
When it hit theatres worldwide in 2016, this funny film became an instant classic for kids and families across the globe. But it isn't just a wacky movie that imagines what society would be like if humans didn't exist. It's also a learning lesson that teaches children to follow their dreams, never give up, and remain steadfast even in the face of overwhelming pressure, all of which are core ideas behind the concept of the growth mindset.
Bunny cop Judy's harrowing journey towards the career of her dreams is definitely inspiring in itself, but even more so is the partnership between her and Nick Wilde, not to mention their tireless work towards making things right between predators and prey in the city of Zootropolis. ThroughZootopia, children can learn about the importance of persistence and hard work when it comes to reaching their goals - while being entertained by all of their favourite animals as a bonus.
This movie is a bit older compared to the other two, but the lessonsKung Fu Panda teaches kids about determination and becoming the best version of yourself shouldn't be looked over. One of the most important foundations in developing a growth mindset is the ability to believe in your own abilities over any natural talent, and Po the panda is an amazing example of that. Even though he lacks in martial prowess and physical strength, his resolve is what gets him through his tough training, and he's ultimately able to defeat the villain of the movie by discovering that the key to true power lies within himself.
If you'd like to show your children a film that encourages them to believe in themselves above all else, then look no further than Kung Fu Panda. As far as moral lessons go, it also has the added plus of teaching kids to love themselves for who they are, no matter how they might appear to others!
The LEGO Movie is a great film to round off this mini-list. Inspired by one of the most famous toy franchises in the world, it's sure to catch your children's attention, and it's also useful for developing a growth mindset with its themes of self-confidence and personal success.
Emmet, the hero of the movie, shares a lot of similarities with Po fromKung Fu Panda - he seems to lack the strength, skills, and talents that make people "special" at first, but by the end he's able to learn that what makes him truly unique compared to everyone else is his own belief in himself.
Growth mindsets and self-esteem aside, The LEGO Movie is also an amazing choice to get your child interested in the foundations of STEAM education as well, so it's perfect for aspiring young engineers or scientists to take inspiration from. Watching the film might be able to spark your kids' curiosity about building and creative design too, so it's like killing two birds with one stone.
In this inspiring TED Talk, third-grader Rebecca Chang shares her story about being forced by her mother to run for student council at her elementary school. Even though she was angry at first and scared of failure after observing her tough competition, Rebecca gradually explains how she turned her fixed mindset into a growth mindset.
"I realized that challenges can help me grow," she says. "Also, my attitudes and efforts can determine my abilities." These motivational words do a great job of summing up the principle ideas behind the growth mindset and are a must for any child to hear.
Born with a condition that made his bones fragile and brittle, thirteen-year-old Sparsh Shah seemed to be set for a tough life right from the beginning. But that didn't manage to get the child prodigy down - in this TED Talk, he shares how he overcame his struggles to chase his dreams of becoming a singer-songwriter, even despite his unlucky circumstances and weak body.
Through his own story, Sparsh wants to show people how to pursue their passions by transcending all the obstacles and roadblocks that come their way. "If you can believe it, you can achieve it," he states. "And I firmly believe that if you push forward and have faith, you will make it big anywhere in life."
Fifth-grader Carson Byblow begins his TED Talk by comparing a growth mindset to a fixed mindset by using famous basketball player Michael Jordan as an example. Someone with a growth mindset, Carson explains, is capable of believing in their ability to get stronger and better, while someone with a fixed mindset is unwilling to improve and afraid of taking on challenges and risks. To no one's surprise, the former is the clear winner - and the pinnacle of what it means to have the mindset of a champion.
What's the secret to motivating yourself to have a growth mindset? Carson shares that one of the best pieces of advice he's ever received is to always add "yet" to the end of a sentence. Instead of saying "I can't do this," say "I can't do this... yet. But I can learn to." This way, you'll always be pushing your limits and challenging yourself to improve each and every day.
Here's something a little different: seven-year-old Molly Wright, one of the youngest speakers to ever present at a TED Talk conference, doesn't directly reference growth mindsets in her speech. Instead, she talks about the science behind brains and the way a child's early life can shape their character well into their future. Molly discusses the crucial impact that a well-oiled system of education and communication can have on young minds. She, along with many other scientists and psychologists, believes that children should be empowered right from the start, so that they can be set up for success throughout their lives.
So how is this relevant to a growth mindset? The theory of education that Molly presents only serves to drive home the importance of character-building in early childhood. That's why, as parents, we owe our children the support and encouragement they need to grow their self-confidence - and of course, developing a growth mindset is one of the best ways to do that.
This TED Talk from another young prodigy by the name of Adora Svitak might be one of the most enocouraging and motivational speeches any child can hear. Over the course of her talk, Adora emphasizes in the importance of so-called "childish" thinking and the value in offering kids any chances they can get to follow their dreams. She underlines the idea of the "next generation" and the tried-and-true theory that progress always enables each new wave to become better than the last.
"The world needs opportunities for new leaders and new ideas. Kids need opportunities to lead and succeed. Are you ready to make the match?" Adora challenges. Her words, doubly supported by the children-focused ideas behind growth mindsets, are sure to inspire any child into dreaming big and taking that leap towards their goals.