Back to school! Whether you school-school, homeschool or online school, there is a good chance that the young people in your life have recently started or are about to a fresh new academic year. Nearly 2 years later (I know) the jury is still out on how the pandemic is affecting our children. Older children and teens may also be dealing with climate anxiety and anyone who is even a little bit clued up about the news is feeling, well, more than a little bleh. And that’s putting it mildly.
Being young isn’t easy. Throw in all the other, regular life stuff like extracurricular activities, parental pressure, sibling rivalry, friendship problems, identity, puberty…Young people are constantly in a state of flux, growing into identities which are complex, in possession of their own preferences, beliefs, value systems.
How can we best equip our kids with the tools to flourish in a rapidly changing world?
While there are certainly many different ways to go about it, I have recently become drawn back to thinking about growth mindsets and the role of positive affirmations.
Experts and educationists suggest that it is important to move children and young people away from fixed mindset thinking – whereby they believe that traits are fixed and cannot be changed – to growth mindset thinking.
What is Growth Mindset thinking?
In growth mindset thinking, individuals believe that their abilities are not predefined and that they have the capacity to move beyond setbacks and failures. When intrinsically motivated – that is when they work for themselves and not for external rewards such as parent or teacher approval – they can improve their skills over time.
Here are the 10 affirmations I plan to use this academic year, with my own children as well as with my ‘kids’ – the children who I have been entrusted to teach.
- Mistakes help me to learn.
- I work towards progress, I do not work for perfection.
- I embrace challenge.
- I am brave because I try.
- I learn from my mistakes. Let’s make better mistakes tomorrow.
- I don’t compare myself to other people.
- I am creative.
- I am a problem solver. No matter what happens, I can handle it.
- I am important.
- It’s okay not to know everything.
But wait…There’s more.
Everyone kind of knows that the children of teachers draw the short straw. We are so busy being everything to everyone else that by the end of the day, when we return to our own families, we don’t often have all that much left over to give them, we are all out of nourishment.
At the end of a long day, I forget the rather specific phrases I consciously try to use when I’m teaching. Over the years, I’ve learnt to cut myself some slack and reckon that as long as I am being consciously positive, my words will leave an impact. Maybe this will help you too? After all, it’s not just teachers who are tired at the end of the day.
Positive phrases which are difficult to forget:
I love you.
I am proud of you.
You worked hard.
You make me so happy.
That’s a great question. *
I love the way you worked on that problem.
Practice makes perfect.
You’re a kind person and I love that about you.
You did it!
You’re so full of fantastic ideas.
*I love this phrase because when I don’t know the answer to something (which is frequently the case), I can give myself the space to find out while acknowledging that the question challenges me to grow and think too.
What are the phrases that you use? Tell us in the comments below.