Targeting Growth Mindset With Everyday Chores

by | Jan 26, 2021 | Family, School

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by Lisa Reichelt, M.Ed, Parent Coach

Educators these days are targeting Growth Mindset as a means for all students to maximize their potential and to experience success as learners. There is little argument that having a Growth Mindset is a positive trait for everyone. So how do you, as a parent, help your children develop this Growth Mindset? You can do it by simply teaching them how to do chores around the house. The key characteristics of a Growth Mindset are nurtured and evident in the completion of family chores. By consistently managing your child’s participation in the work around the house, you build their mindset and help them to become more effective students. In this way, you are targeting Growth Mindset with everyday chores. Let’s first look at the essential components of Growth Mindset:

  • A willingness to try new things
  • A willingness to learn
  • Understanding that failure is an opportunity for growth
  • Understanding that intelligence develops over time
  • Embracing a challenge
  • Learning from feedback
  • Willingness to keep trying, to not give-up
  • Gain inspiration from other’s success
  • Seeing difficulty as a building block to perseverance

When families are deliberate about how they structure the completion of chores, they find that the Growth Mindset components are being taught as well. If you want your child to develop a Growth Mindset, spotlight just a few components for starters. Let’s begin with these three:

  1. A willingness to learn
  2. Learning from feedback
  3. Seeing difficulty as a building block to perseverance

Deliberate Strategies

Parents should be deliberate when teaching about Growth Mindset. Focus on just three components for the next month. Discuss this with your family and let the children know that you are applying these criteria to the chores duties. This will help motivate them. You may even ask the children which Growth Mindset components they would like to work on as they complete chores. Awareness of Growth Mindset can become a family project.

Willingness to Learn

To concentrate on “A willingness to learn”, ask your child what chore they have the most difficulty completing. You probably already know the answer, but it is important they identify the chore also. When they choose the chore, take time to review how to complete the chore correctly and offer to assist them so that they see you modeling the chore. I remember when my own mother demonstrated how to efficiently wipe off a table top without allowing the crumbs to hit the floor. She modeled the chore, I learned from her and it contributed to my willingness to learn.

Learning from Feedback

“Learning from feedback” is often emotionally charged. No one likes to hear critique of their work. Your child will benefit throughout life if they can gain expertise in this area. As you tackle a new chore, tell your child to expect feedback when the chore is completed. Explain that you are doing it out of love and in order for them to improve the task.

Your feedback should include praise for the components of the chore that are well done and honest critique of areas for improvement. It helps to start and end with positive feedback. For example, perhaps the chore is “helping with dishes”. Some positive feedback might be that they filled the dishwasher quickly and wiped counters well. A critique may be that they argued with their sibling during the job. After the feedback it is important to ask your child how they may change their performance next time.

Building Perseverance through difficulty

“Building perseverance” takes time. Even very young children can benefit from situations in which they need to overcome difficulty. We called it “frustration tolerance” when our children were little. It is helpful to allow children to be frustrated for a while, and only then, to step in to help overcome the frustration. How does this relate to chores?

Children experience frustration with a chore that takes a long time, or requires extended effort. Some chores that come to mind here are folding the clothes, vacuuming, shoveling the driveway or cleaning the bathroom. When your child is working on one of these types of chores, preface the chore by reminding them it will be difficult, or take a long time. Let them know that you expect them to keep working but they may take a break. Recognizing your child’s perseverance with praise, encourages them and builds their self worth. After the chore is complete, deliberately give your child praise for their perseverance. The reward of a job well done is an intrinsic reward. This experience contributes to their emotional well-being.



Success in School and Beyond

As you can see, targeting Growth Mindset with everyday chores is an easy strategy to enhance your child’s school success. After you have focused on a few components of Growth Mindset you will find it easy to apply the other components to your family chores. For more ideas about which chores your children should be undertaking, check out this article. Keep persevering and over time you will see definite changes in your child’s attitude. As you build their skills, your child’s success in school will improve as well. Students with a Growth Mindset are high achievers and enjoy positive experiences in school. They also are more successful in peer relationships and job performance. Parenting is a never-ending challenge, but we’re here to help. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram.

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Looking for ways to reward your child’s perseverance? Why not try a “Yes Day.” Click here for details.

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