For Parents

-Room 26 Families-

This will be a place that I will be posting interesting information and articles that pertain to supporting your young learner. I am hoping that parents will find this to be an inspiring resource to gain insight into the most current knowledge on how children learn.

Purposeful Praise

"Good job" is a phrase we adults often throw out as a reflex, just as automatically as we say "bless you" after someone sneezes! As well meaning as this may be, recent research shows that this type of "empty" praise can actually have the opposite effect as it intends. Rather than building children up, helping their self-esteem, and boosting confidence, frequent praise can actually do more harm than good. Fortunately, there are ways to give children recognition in positive, meaningful ways that are proven to have an impact. Here's a few tips:

  1. Make sure the praise is specific and authentic (really mean it!). Try to avoid statements like, "good job" or "nice work." It truly is a reflex (I still catch myself!) but with practice you'll become more aware of this.
  2. Praise process and effort rather than implying fixed qualities like "You're so smart."
  3. Avoid inserting yourself in the praise. (Choose "You" instead of "I"). For example, instead of "I like how you cleaned your room" say, "You cleaned your room! That was responsible."
  4. Taking interest and asking questions is as effective and direct praise.

Here's a little chart of 25 ideas for turning empty praise into meaningful encouragement:

Interesting and quick read.
Highly reccommend!

Encouraging a Growth Mindset

What is Growth Mindset?

Growth Mindset is a concept developed from the research of Carol Dweck, a professor of Phycology at Stanford University. It is the belief that a person's abilities and intelligence are not something one is born with (ie. fixed) rather something that can be developed (grown) through practice, effort, and dedication, and motivation. This concept is highly supported by the latest research in neuroplasticity (the physiological ability of the brain to form new synapses/connections), as well. 

Why is Growth Mindset Important? 

Research has shown that children with a FIXED MINDSET...
  • Can be afraid of failure
  • More easily give up when they feel something is hard
  • Avoid challenges
  • Ignore helpful feedback
  • Feel threatened by the success of others
  • Try hard to give off an appearance of being an expert or knowing everything
Children with a GROWTH MINDSET...
  • Embrace challenge
  • Persevere when things get hard
  • Believe that effort leads to success
  • Seek feedback and view it as a way to grow
  • View mistakes as a way to grow one's brain
  • Are inspired by and learn from the success of others

What can I do to help my child develop a Growth Mindset?

  • Model growth mindset in your own actions. Talk with your child about times you've taken on challenging things and struggled! (Kids often think grown-ups don't struggle!)
  • Show that you value effort and perseverance over fixed traits like "intelligence" or "talent."
  • Allow your child to struggle and empower them to solve problems rather than quickly jumping in to make things better. (It's tough to do, but teaches them to help themselves!) 
  • Ask questions to help your child reflect on their process of learning: What did you do that was difficult today? Did you make a mistake today? What did you learn from it?
  • Give specific feedback and avoid empty praise like "Good job!" or "You're so smart." It may seem like it would build your child up but it actually has been found to do the opposite (more on this topic in a future post!)
  • Help your child find opportunities to stretch a little beyond his/her comfort zone or maybe do something together that is a little out of everyone's comfort zone!!
  • Emphasize your child's ability to grow!

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