6 Magical Words To Teach Your Kid
Being a successful athlete is dependent on several things; athleticism, dedication, coaching, mentality, confidence, overall health (injury prevention and nutrition), and training. But imagine if there was one magical phrase that, when repeated at different times throughout the day, could improve the odds that your child would be successful.
A new study released in The Society For Research In Child Development discovered that when children learned to recite this one phrase (6 words) quietly to themselves, they did better at certain tests than those who didn’t. The children who scored low on confidence before taking the test had the greatest improvement. Researchers have long known that ‘self-talk’ can have powerful results (Read More Here About How Cue Words Can Help Athletes). But this research discovered that it must be specific phrases rooted in a growth mindset and not just any affirming words.
Now this study was limited in its scope – middle school students in the Netherlands. And the results were on math tests, not on the field or court. Still, the power of ‘self-talk’ and a growth mindset is becoming undeniable.
The magic words that resulted in kids boosting their performance, according to the study, were simple.
“I will do my very best!”
‘I am very good at this!’
- Group 1: Were told to softly recite a self-affirmation focused on effort, “I will do my very best!”
- Group 2: Were told to softly recite a self-affirmation, based more on a fixed quality, “I am very good at this!”
- Group 3: Didn’t engage in any self-affirmation.
The results were clear-cut. Group 1 students, who engaged in effort-related affirmations, outperformed the other groups.
The results further confirm Stanford professor Carol Dweck’s famous research on ‘growth mindset’ vs. ‘fixed’ mindset in a child.
Meaning if you praise me for my innate intelligence, you’re praising me for a) something I had nothing to do with achieving and b) something I can’t do anything to improve.
But when you praise me for my effort, you’re encouraging me to develop exactly the muscles you want me to develop to be successful in life. (See below for clues as to which mindset your child has)
Now this doesn’t mean your child will become a super-athlete because they repeat, “I will do my very best” throughout the day. But it does mean there are measurable changes in results when a child uses growth mindset affirmations.
Does Your Child Have A Growth Or Fixed Mindset?
Do they believe achievement, intelligence, and problem-solving can be fluid and developed over time?
Are they OK making mistakes and view mistakes as a learning experience?
Do they view ‘effort’ as the key to learning and ability?
Do they often complain of being bored in school?
Do they care too much about ‘looking smart’, so much so that they avoid tasks that are hard so they won’t look bad?
Do they view mistakes as failures?
Do they believe you either have talent and smarts or you don’t? With no gray area?
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