“I CAN’T do that!” Sound familiar? It for sure is a frequent argument in our home. We’ve all experienced those moments when our kids refuse to try something new because they “can’t.” My own response taught by my parents has continued to be “Can’t never could!”
While we know they may be scared because new things are scary – you don’t want to fail, you don’t want to look silly, etc., BUT kids will never know if they like something or that they are good at something unless they TRY. As parents, we know that they can’t, YET, so how do we teach this mindset?
How to Incorporate the Power of “Yet” into your Parenting Toolkit
The concept of “yet” has the power to transform challenges into opportunities for learning and resilience. Guiding our kids to understand the significance of “yet” can set the stage for a lifetime of curiosity, perseverance, and success. Here are a few tips for incorporating the power of “yet” into your parenting toolkit:
- Encourage positive self-talk: The language we use shapes our mindset. Encourage your kids to replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations that include the word “yet.” For example, if they say, “I can’t do this,” encourage them to say, “I can’t do this YET.” This subtle shift in language promotes a belief in their ability to grow and learn over time.
- Embrace mistakes as learning opportunities: Teach your kids that making mistakes is a natural part of the learning process. Instead of viewing errors as failures, introduce the idea that they simply haven’t mastered a skill or concept “yet.” Talk with the child about what they learned and how they would do things differently next time. Encourage a positive attitude towards challenges, emphasizing that each mistake is a step closer to understanding and improvement.
- Set goals and break them down: First get your child aligned on what they want and help them set realistic goals and break them down into manageable steps. Emphasize that reaching a goal might take time and effort, but with persistence and a growth mindset, they can achieve it! Remind them that not achieving a goal immediately doesn’t mean they won’t get there eventually. For instance, one summer one of my kids refused to practice a certain soccer skill, because, you guessed it, he said he couldn’t do it. I helped him break down the goal of learning to juggle a soccer ball 10x in a row. We started with an attainable daily goal of 10 minutes of practice each day until we then moved into daily practice of juggling until he got to 10 several times. There were only four people on the team who could do it by the time the season started back up. By the end of the summer, he had conquered the skill!
- Celebrate effort, not just results: Praise your child’s effort, perseverance, and dedication rather than focusing solely on the end result. When they put in hard work, acknowledge it and highlight how their commitment contributes to their growth. This reinforces the idea that the journey and the process are just as important as the destination.
- Model a growth mindset: Children learn by example, so it’s important to model a growth mindset in your own life. Share your experiences of facing challenges, setbacks, and how you approached them with a positive and resilient attitude. Your stories can be powerful teaching tools that demonstrate the value of perseverance and the belief in continuous improvement.
- Cultivate curiosity and exploration by using “yet in everyday conversations: Foster a sense of curiosity in your children by encouraging them to explore new interests and try different activities. Incorporate the word “yet” into your everyday conversations. For instance, if your child says, “I don’t understand this,” respond with, “You don’t understand it yet, but with time and effort, you will.” Remind them that it’s okay not to be perfect at something the first time. Guion is quick to tell me when I share something isn’t exactly right that “it doesn’t have to be perfect, Mom” I love his perspective!, We all need to remember that the journey of learning is filled with exciting discoveries and improvements.
Teaching your children the power of “yet” is a gift that will serve them throughout their lives. By instilling a growth mindset early on, you empower them to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, and view learning as a lifelong journey. Remember, it’s not about being perfect—perfection can be debilitating and daunting. As parents, we have the incredible opportunity to shape our children’s mindset, equipping them with the tools they need to navigate the complexities of the world with resilience and optimism.
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