Let’s Reframe Our Visions of a New School Year
All summer, I’ve been working on growth. I’ve been working out to grow physically stronger, I’ve been spending time researching reading and writing challenges to grow my knowledge-base and ability to help students succeed and I’ve been growing personally by learning to change my mindset.
I have become a student in developing a growth mindset, a concept developed by psychologist Carol Dweck that suggests that one’s qualities and attributes are not fixed; rather, a growth mindset is the belief that people have the ability to grow, improve, and better themselves through hard work and perseverance.
The end of this summer feels different for me as I work to embrace the change of season and the shifting routine that is inevitable.
I’ve also learned that this whole growth mindset thing can help our kids, too! After all, so many kids also struggle with transitioning back to school, become apprehensive when school work feels insurmountable, and get stuck in a fixed mindset.
Here are a few great ways to help your kids step out of their comfort zone and transform their thinking.
1. Reframe “I can’t do that” to “I can’t do that yet”
This one is great for both parents and kids alike. When I got back on the spinning bike after two kids and a long hiatus, I remember feeling like throwing in the towel. It was hard, maybe the hardest thing I did this summer, but I stuck with it, believing that I would be able to do it. Now I feel strong and accomplished. When faced with challenges, it is important to teach our kids to take the “can’t” out of the equation and replace it with “try.”
2. Reframe “I’m dreading the start of school” to “Change can be scary, but I’m brave”
My four-year-old son is anxious, like I was at his age, about starting something new. He’s excited, but nervous. We’ve been reading “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to help him to understand the metaphor of a caterpillar’s metamorphosis. We talk a lot about how he is like that caterpillar now and how he is so hungry to learn (like the caterpillar is for food). He is so hungry, though, that he has to be brave, like the caterpillar and become a butterfly so that he can spread his wings and learn. Although he will probably attend his first day of JK dressed as Batman, I think he gets the point that part of learning and growing is being brave.
3. Reframe “I give up” to “I’m going to try another strategy”
At the start of the school year, so many students have given up before they have even started. Having trouble with problem solving in math? Look at the problem in a different way. Stuck on an essay? Take a break and look at it again with fresh eyes.
Help your child change this fixed way of thinking by reminding them that they can and will learn if they try, work hard and practice.