Welcome to Ikon Fostering’s first blog post! I hope that you and your families are keeping safe and well during the Pandemic. There has been A LOT of learning that has come because of the Pandemic; from a personal perspective to a global perspective (and arguably from a humanity perspective!). Through the breakdowns, meltdowns and the ‘I can’t do this any more-downs’, our children too have a lot of learning happening – although it might not be noticeable at the time.
I want to talk about Modelling. Not the kind you might be thinking of with a camera flash, but rather the kind of learned behaviour our children pick up from us. Hardships are a part of life. We grow from them. Good or bad. Hardships also allow our children opportunity to model how to cope with tough times. It is widely acknowledged that a child will look to their significant caregiver during a time of distress to emotionally regulate themselves. Therefore, it is important to remain the unassailable safe base when your child is having a tantrum so that they can regulate themselves by noticing you are remaining calm. Of course, this is not always possible and at times we can all ‘lose it’; but the most important thing here is that we don’t harm the children and follow up with the child after the event about what happened to give them a narrative to ascertain their safety.
So, what kind of mindset are you modelling for the kids who are watching you? Are you modelling a growth mindset for them? Here are 10 ways you can help children build a growth mindset during a hard time:
- Model being positive and admit your mistakes
- Give them strategies for handling frustration
- Avoid comparisons
- Praise effort and not ability
- Talk about famous people who preserved through failure
- Challenge them when things get easy by setting ‘growth goals’
- Use the word ‘yet’ in your sentences
- Help them catch and change negative thoughts
- Show that failures are learning opportunities
- Teach the science: the brain grows and changes like a muscle
Kirith Klair, Psychotherapist, Ikon Fostering