Intelligence is not something that is set from the moment we are born. We can develop our brains like a muscle through effort, practice, and perseverance. People who believe that they are naturally smarter than others often try to avoid challenges that will make them stronger and smarter. People who believe that they can get continually smarter through hard work and determination regularly outperform those who think that they can rely upon innate ability. The subtle shift of adding “yet” when tempted to think that, “I cannot do it,” will encourage a growth mindset in your child rather than creating glass ceilings for ourselves through a fixed mindset. For more information, read Carol Dweck’s Mindset and/or watch this video: The Power of Yet.
Use genuine, specific, and effort-focused praise
Observe your child carefully and comment on the things that are done well. Tell your child exactly what you appreciated and why. Focus upon his/her effort during the process rather than ability or the final product. When you see an area that needs improvement, find a positive way to talk about it with your child and frame it as a growth opportunity, referring back to other times when s/he has worked hard at something and improved because of the invested time and effort.
Encourage “personal best”
Help your child by encouraging him or her to do the best in school and at home. Remember, “personal best” does not mean “perfect”, and learning is what matters much more than grades. Children, like adults, need the freedom to make mistakes and to learn from them.
Make learning a priority
Your attitude toward school attendance, education and involvement in the school makes a strong and lasting impression on your child. Show your child, by example, that learning is a priority. Better yet, tell your child about the new learning challenges that you have persevered through recently.
Show interest in school work
Talk about school each day.
Have your child read aloud to you and pause to ask questions to ensure that your child comprehends what is read and can think critically about less obvious themes.
Read to and with your child from a variety of material in your first language.
Encourage your child to discuss new ideas and opinions.
Offer suggestions for success
Help your child use the following strategies to improve performance in school:
Read the assignment when it is given.
Keep a running vocabulary list.
Proofread assignments to catch errors before writing a final draft.
Review notes before a test multiple times over multiple days in advance. Avoid cramming the night before, it has little effect on long-term learning.
Schedule study time
Set up an area for homework away from noise and distractions. Post a family calendar that schedules school project deadlines, after-school activities, mid-term dates, exam periods and report card dates.