9 Powerful Phrases That Will Inspire Your Kid to Keep Trying

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 12:00am -- Keri

Seeing your child frustrated and losing motivation is difficult for parents. This article below gives some tips on how to keep your child feeling positive. 

9 Powerful Phrases That Will Inspire Your Kid to Keep Trying—Even When It’s Hard

Inside: These are the best growth mindset posters because they help kids internalize the crucial message that putting in effort is how you grow your brain.

A few weeks ago, my 4-year-old Bailey was sitting at the breakfast table with a stack of paper, a stencil, and a bunch of colored pencils when she said something that broke my heart.

I’d been washing dishes about five feet away, so I saw her in my peripheral vision, holding the stencil to the paper with one hand and tracing with the other hand.

But then she sat back and said, “I’m not a good artist.”

I glanced up. The corners of her mouth pointed down, and her eyes were starting to fill.

This is the girl who tells me every day that when she grows up, she’s going to be an artist during the day, then at night she’s going to be Wonder Woman and fight bad guys.

But in that moment, I could see her confidence in her dreams slipping away.

I felt a tug in my chest. I turned off the faucet and dried my hands.

Settling into the chair next to her, I asked, “What makes you feel that way?”

“I just can’t do it right. Every time I try to draw with the stencil, it moves and messes it all up.” She hung her head, and I reached out to rub her shoulder.

The Problem With Kids Talking Like This

A little self-doubt can be healthy – as long as it drives you to put in more effort and try to improve.

But getting stuck in a negative mindset can cause you to give up on what you set out to do.

As parents, that’s the opposite of what we want for our kids. We don’t want to raise quitters who give up at the first sign of a challenge. We want to raise determined kids who work hard and persevere through challenges until they succeed.

A few kids seem to naturally learn that lesson and need no support to transform moments of self-doubt into a determination to work harder.

But after talking to my friends and reading messages from parents who write to me every day, what seems to be the mostcommon situation is this: Our kids need our help to learn how to catch themselves in these moments of self-doubt.

They need our guidance on how to turn negative self-talk from something that makes them give up – into something positive that drives them towards success.

Here’s Why This Could Be the Most Important Lesson You Teach Your Child

A few years ago, I volunteered as a mentor to a small group of girls in a second-grade classroom.

During the volunteer training, the educators running the program taught us a powerful concept I hadn’t heard before: fixed versus growth mindset.

  • Kids who have a fixed mindset believe that you’re as smart as you’ll ever be. You can’t change how smart you are, no matter how hard you try. You can’t change your personality, how creative you are, or anything else because your traits and abilities are fixed.
  • But kids with a growth mindset believe that if you work hard, you can become smarter. These kids thrive on challenge. Fixed-mindset kids see failure as evidence of not being smart, but growth-mindset kids see failure as an opportunity for growing. In fact, they don’t even see failure as a failure. They see it as learning.

Can you guess which kids end up being most successful in school and in their careers later in life? Which kids have the greatest capacity for happiness?

More than 20 years of research shows that the key to success in school and life is being able to apply a growth mindset. In other words, if you believe that trying hard will make you smarter, it will.

But if you believe that nothing you do will change how smart you are, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What’s more, fixed-mindset kids don’t enjoy the learning process. Their mindset even drives them to lie about their school performance so they can maintain the perception that they’re smart. They certainly can’t handle mistakes.

“In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort.

In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.” – Carol Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

How to Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Child

To be clear, if your kid is showing signs of a fixed mindset, you won’t find a quick overnight fix. Shifting your mindset takes time. In the words of the top researcher on growth mindset, Carol Dweck:

“Change isn’t like surgery. Even when you change, the old beliefs aren’t just removed like a worn-out hip or knee and replaced with better ones. Instead, the new beliefs take their place alongside the old ones, and as they become stronger, they give you a different way to think, feel, and act.”

In other words, pretty much everyone has both a fixed and a growth mindset. As a parent, the best thing you can do to help your child is give them a toolbox of growth mindset tricks they can use when they’re struggling with a challenge.

Guiding your child from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset will take time and patience, but it will pay off for your child. In a minute, I’ll share a powerful trick to add to your child’s growth mindset toolbox, but first: How do I know?

What Happens When You Foster a Growth Mindset in Your Child

In my family, we’re no stranger to the struggle of shifting from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Our oldest daughter has struggled with her mindset since she started school. We reacted by nudging and encouraging her towards a growth mindset, and we’ve seen a huge transformation in her attitude about making mistakes, working hard, and not giving up.

We’ve tried countless parenting techniques to get to this point – some of them total duds and some that thankfully made an impact.

But we stumbled on one powerful growth mindset trick that I wish I’d done much earlier with my oldest daughter because the results have been fast and impressive with her and my preschooler.

But not just any growth mindset posters. Kids color in the phrases on these posters – phrases specifically designed to help kids internalize the crucial message that putting in effort is how you grow your brain.

Because the truth is that overused platitudes like “never give up” don’t stick in kids’ minds. But these special growth mindset mantras will burrow their way into your child’s internal dialogue and come out at the exact moment your child needs them.

Unique Growth Mindset Posters That Will Shift Your Child’s Mindset

The problem with most ready-made growth mindset posters you can get is that you stick them on the wall and they become…wallpaper. Your child may notice a pretty poster for a day or two, but then they blend in, and your child’s eyes will gloss right over them without really seeing the important messages you’re trying to get across.

Because of this, I put together a special set of printable growth mindset posters for my kids, and they loved them so much I decided to share them here.

You can use these color-in mindset posters at home with your kids, or you can use them in a classroom of students then decorate the walls with the students’ creations. (Just remember to move them around every now and then to keep them from becoming wallpaper!)

The phrases on these special growth mindset posters include:

  • I can’t do it yet, but I will
  • I’m the boss of my mind, and I can tell it what to do
  • My brain is a muscle, and mistakes are like lifting weights
  • I’m perfectly imperfect, and that’s a beautiful thing
  • Winning doesn’t matter. Learning does.
  • The more I try, the more my brain grows
  • There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. (A quote from Zig Ziglar)
  • Worrying about mistakes is like putting a leash on my brainpower
  • I can (This one’s our favorite because it shows “I can’t” with the “t” being cut off with a pair of scissors!)