What is the growth mindset?
- It’s easy to give up when the going gets tough.
- It’s easy to let our excuses get in the way of our dreams.
- It’s easy to think that we don’t have enough talent or skills.
This is where the growth mindset comes in! If you can teach kids (& adults) growth mindset activities that view failure as an opportunity, and that learning is more important than talent, it’s SO much easier to be happy and successful in this world.
*For a detailed explanation on the growth mindset, visit this inspiring post.
Now, what are some examples of growth mindset?
These HUGELY impactful people all struggled early, but realized that their initial challenges were only a stepping stone for future endeavors. They didn’t give up. This is the growth mindset in action.
- Thomas Edison’s teachers said that he was too stupid to learn anything.
- At the newspaper Walt Disney first worked at, his editors fired him because they thought he lacked imagination and good ideas.
- Oprah Winfrey was abused at the age of 9, ran away at 13, and was pregnant by 14 (she lost her baby shortly after birth).
- All 12 major publishers rejected the Harry Potter manuscript as J.K. Rowling was divorced, single parenting, and on welfare.
- Einstein didn’t begin speaking until he was 4 or reading until he was 7. Some thought he was mentally handicapped.
Now, how do I teach my child a growth mindset?
These people are amazing! And wouldn’t it be great if we could all thrive through our challenges? We can! Start with these hands-on growth mindset activities…
1. Model Behavior
First, here’s the thing. If you don’t have a growth mindset in yourself, don’t expect it from your kids. They don’t listen, they imitate. So, use the exercises below to show them what a growth mindset looks, sounds, and feels like.
Spend time building your own mindset, and you’ll have a MUCH better chance of teaching it. For that reason, most of the growth mindset activities in this post apply to adults as well as kids.
2. Read Fun Growth Mindset Books
The world is built on engaging stories. And there are so many enchanting books that explain the growth mindset better than a lecture ever will. So, put books in your library that get the key concepts of growth across in a fun way.
Then, have fun reading together!
3. Ask Growth Mindset Questions for Kids
Next, use these questions daily at meal times or bedtime to encourage a shift in thinking:
- What did you do today that was hard?
- What mistake did you make today? Did you learn from it?
- What would you like to get better at?
- What is something you have gotten better at recently?
- What’s something you’re curious about?
- How did your brain grow today?
- What question did you ask someone today?
- What did you do today that made you think?
- What did you do today that you’re proud of?
4. Make An Action Plan for Failure
Failure is a key part of life. It gives us critical feedback about what to improve on. So, when it happens, what’s your plan to bounce back? What strategies can you learn? How do you need to change course?
Write your plan on paper. Do this yourself as an adult, and do it with your child. Soon, you’ll both realize that failure is important.
*A growth planning worksheet is included in my kids printable pack! The pack includes 70 easy printables to build responsibility, mindset, and connection with kids. See the full pack HERE >>
5. Practice “How Can I Do That?”
This is mindset advice taught to adults, but applies to kids too. So often, we think to ourselves, “I can’t do that.”
But the person with a growth mindset instead asks, “HOW can I do that?”
See the difference? The new question instantly gets you thinking outside of the box. And instead of giving up, you’re inviting in creativity and possibility.
So, the next time you or your kids use “can’t.” Ask how instead.
6. Sort Fixed and Growth Mindset Sayings
Write these sayings on a slip of paper (or just say them out loud).
Now, have kids tell you whether these are fixed or growth mindset phrases. This activity reminds us of what we want to encourage in our own thinking.
7. Turn Negative Into Positive
We all have a small voice in our heads that tells us negative things. So, spend a few minutes brainstorming the kind of negative thoughts that you experience, and then have everyone practice flipping those thoughts around.
8. Research Famous Failures
Remember those failures from above? Introduce those facts to your family! Point out that the world’s most successful people had ridiculously hard obstacles to overcome. Read HERE for more famous people.
Who’s your favorite famous failure?
9. Share Good and Grit at Dinner
One variation on “high and low” at dinnertime is to express something good that happened that day and something “gritty.” In other words, share something that made you show up with determination.
By doing this every night at dinner, you’re training everyone in the family to seek out challenge and growth.
10. Praise for Failure
One of my favorite stories is of a young female entrepreneur that came home from school every day to one question. Her father asked her if she failed today. If the answer was yes, he gave her a hi-5. If not, he acted disappointed.
Now, because her childhood home life reinforced the value of getting out of her comfort zone, she has a much easier time doing so as an adult.
11. Create Growth Mindset Affirmations
Affirmations have the power to change your thinking over time. So, use them to change your mindset. Try one of these affirmations:
- I give my best effort.
- I can do hard things.
- I stay with a problem, even when it’s hard.
- Challenges make me stronger than before.
- If I can’t do something, it’s only because I haven’t learned it or figured it out yet.
- I can learn new strategies and ways of doing things.
Have your kids say them at breakfast or say them yourself in the shower.
12. Journal for a Growth Mindset
13. Inspire With Quotes
This article with beautiful growth mindset quotes will motivate your entire family. Put up the free wall art, and you’ll be constantly reminded of the growth mindset you’re trying to build.
14. Practice Adding Yet
As soon as someone says, “I can’t,” add “yet” to the end of the sentence.
I can’t do that math. Yet.
I can’t drive a car. Yet.
Now, make it a game. Who can say it first? If your kids can beat you to saying “yet,” give them a fun reward coupon.
15. Try Role Playing: Growth Mindset Activities for Kids
Next, use different scenarios to show kids when they’ll need to employ their growth mindset. Ideas include:
- If you struggle with something at school (or work)
- When your sibling or friend can do something you can’t (yet)
- If it takes you a long time to learn something.
16. Reward a Growth Mindset
Did you watch your child work her butt off even when it was hard? Did YOU decide to keep learning instead of giving up?
Reinforce these growth mindset activities by rewarding your kids or yourself in a healthy way! Check out:
We continue to do things that feel good, or are satisfying in some way. So, make it so!
17. Try New Things
And finally, try new things as a family often. Get out of your comfort zone together and individually (find 50 easy ways HERE).
Courage takes practice. It’s like a muscle. The more you use it, the easier it becomes to do uncomfortable things.
To Consider With Growth Mindset Exercises
I hope these exercises help you develop the mindset to live an inspired life.
Never stop growing friends! What are the growth mindset activities for kids or adults you’ll do this week?
More posts from Healthy Happy Impactful…
- How to Create Your Epic Vision Board – a free template to begin to plan.
- The Big List of Family goals examples – get dreaming together!
- The Best Non-Toy Gifts for Kids – all the meaningful, useful, and learning ideas in one place.