How to Nurture a Growth Mindset in Children (Free Story & Activity)
Written by Noreen Greimann
When I scrolled through my inbox two weeks ago, a sentence caught my attention.
Take your kid from negative self-talk to confidence.
Negative self-talk is something I come across on a regular basis when teaching. Children fall somewhere between being very confident and willing to try anything and believing that they can’t and will never learn. Being a perfectionist myself, I often find myself hanging out in the “Don’t-think-I-can-do-it” camp.
I continued to read the e-mail that Kelly from The Idealist Mom had so beautifully written. She talks about how we are so used to saying “Good job!” or “Well done!” or “You got this.” without realizing that those comments are not actually helping our children and instead leave them feeling stuck.
Kelly goes on to explain the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, which was a concept I was familiar with.
Though, I never made the connection.
I never realized that me saying “You’re so smart” to a child was contributing to a fixed mindset. It was time to change that. And since my favorite tool for change and learning is stories, my mind began to weave the threads of a story together.
A Story About Growth Mindset for Children Is Born
Over the next few days, I paid closer attention to how I was talking to children and how children (including my own) were talking about themselves. I wanted to make sure I captured the biggest challenge in the story and then present a solution that even young children could relate to and comprehend.
It wasn’t long before “Daisy’s Petals” had emerged. (Download below)This is a story about how Daisy and all the other flowers in the meadow learn about working hard and making mistakes from a friendly honey bee. The story is suited for children ages 3 and up (incl. Kindergarten and early elementary age).
I have also included a flower coloring page that I had drawn many years ago and it happens to fit the story perfectly.
How to Use the Growth Mindset Story
Read or tell the story to your child but resist the urge to explain the story. The use of metaphors in stories allows children to work out the underlying message in their imagination without even realizing it. Often a change in a child’s behavior happens when we least expect it.
Feel free to change the story to adapt it to your child’s favorite flower, insect or animal.
Invite your child to color the coloring page and display it in a prominent place. When your child encounters a challenging situation refer to the picture and remind your child that they are getting another turn at getting it right.