by Laura Berthiaume August 15, 2022 2 min read
My oldest is currently going through a swing-loving phase. He'd be happy to sit on it for hours every day but my shoulder has been getting sore from all the pushing.
He's 4 now so I thought, great, I'll teach him how to pump his legs on the swing and make this a little easier on myself. He was struggling to get the hang of it but then said to me "I guess I just need more pumping lessons".
Yes! This is why I love the Montessori approach, the growth mindset.
If you haven't heard this term before, the growth mindset is a belief that we can learn new things through practice, being receptive to feedback, and exploring new strategies.
A ‘growth mindset’ is a willingness to learn and change.
This is different than the idea that we're either "good" or "bad" at things, a growth mindset says "I just need more practice". Rather than "I'm not artistic", children learn "I can draw better the more I practice."
This is taught in a Montessori by giving children the time to repeat activities over and over until they master it.
They learn not to become frustrated when they aren't able to do something right away and the persistence to problem-solve.
At home, you can offer the same guidance. Give your child the time and space to work through challenges independently, until they give an indication they want help.
If they're just doing it slowly or making mistakes (but don't seem overly frustrated) then don't intervene.
You can also offer gentle guidance that helps them understand the growth mindset.
You can say things like:
"Doing X (putting on shoes, zipping a zipper, etc) is hard at first. With a little more practice, you'll be a pro!"
"When I first learned to do X, it was hard too but with practice, I got a lot better."
This is also very much related to the "sit on your hands" email I shared last year, where all you often need to do to encourage independence is sit on your hands and count to 10 when your child is problem-solving.
Go here to check out that post, if you're interested: https://themontessoriroom.com/blogs/montessori-tips/the-1-absolute-easiest-thing-you-can-do-to-foster-independence-in-your-child
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