AI and Your Child: Promote These 5 Growth Mindset Skills for a Successful Future
What do you want to be when you grow up?
How does your child answer that question? Will that job still exist 20 years from now?
Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47 percent of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades.
At this rate, your preschooler will be living in a very different world when it comes time to enter the workforce.
How can we prepare for a future that we can hardly imagine? Power through those ABC’s and move on to coding classes? Think again.
Nowadays it seems like we hear about artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere we turn. On the other hand, the concept of a growth mindset has been slower to catch on. You’ll most likely hear about it in conversations around education or personal growth. While AI and growth mindset may seem unrelated, understanding both can have a profound impact on your child’s development and their ability to succeed in the future.
A growth mindset is the internal belief that intelligence and abilities can be improved through effort. A child with growth mindset will enjoy learning and embrace challenges. They’re more likely to think independently and bounce back from failure. The opposite is a fixed mindset, which is a belief that no effort could be enough to overcome a challenge.
I won’t be talking here about whether AI is good or bad, and I won’t get wigged out about it taking over the world. The fact is, it’s here… and who knows what will be next.
“The Only Constant in Life Is Change.”- Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
In an ever-changing world, a growth mindset is a must-have for success. There are 5 skills linked with growth mindset that will be in demand no matter what the future brings. Read on for those, plus a variety of ways to promote these qualities in your child.
A Lifelong Commitment to Learning.
Have you ever wondered, will AI replace my job? It’s not a silly question, since many routine tasks and even highly skilled professions are already being automated by new technology. Can you imagine, spending a small fortune on your child’s college degree, only to have their education become obsolete 10 year after they graduate? To guard against this, the ability to constantly learn and adapt in his or her chosen career path will be essential.
Those who are committed to lifelong learning and professional development will always be better equipped. A growth mindset also allows individuals to approach new subjects with a sense of curiosity and exploration, rather than fear or resentment.
How to Nurture a Love of Learning in Your Child:
Try a New Activity Together
Work together on a new recipe, take a walk in a different neighborhood, or try something adventurous like hiking on a challenging trail.
The longer the better, because it increases attention span. When reading together, be curious. Ask questions about what will happen next, and what the characters might be thinking or feeling.
Pursue Knowledge in Areas of Interest
What does your kiddo enjoy? Art? Dinosaurs? Outer space? Investigate it from many angles. Get library books, visit a museum, go on a factory tour, video chat with an expert, watch documentaries—show her all the different ways to learn more about the things she loves. A growth mindset is hungry for knowledge.
As your child grows, you’ll constantly be finding your way through a new phase of parenthood. You’ll go from reading toddler parenting books and preschool parenting tips to researching tween dating advice and the college admissions process. As you’re learning, it’s important to demonstrate your own commitment to learning. Let your child see that you are seeking parenting education, to help you care for him in the best possible way. You’ll be demonstrating your love and concern, as well as your own growth mindset at the same time.
Many comparisons are made between AI versus human intelligence. But when it comes to emotional intelligence, there is zero comparison. The ability to connect on an emotional human level can never be replaced. We’ll always need leaders who motivate, educators who inspire, and healthcare professionals who truly care. I’d never want a machine to fill any of these rolls for me.
Soft skills like empathy, collaboration, and effective communication will always be necessary. Individuals who can understand and connect to the emotional needs of customers, colleagues and clients will be prized.
Emotional intelligence also means understanding of self. It’s your capacity to be aware of, control, and express your emotions in positive, healthy ways.
Thinking that your reactions are automatic because of your emotional state means that you’re operating with a fixed mindset, and it’s a fast path to frustration. On the flip side, using a growth mindset helps us reframe feelings of discomfort as opportunities to learn, and not let it dictate our actions. We learn to think before we speak, and pause before we act. Taking action is still important, but it’s a thoughtful decision, not an impulsive reflex.
How to Promote Emotional Intelligence in Your Child:
First, your child needs to know how to recognize how he’s feeling. Use words about emotions in your everyday conversation and practice talking about them. Say things like, “I feel angry when…” “I feel happy when…”
Help your child label her emotions - at least the emotion you suspect she’s feeling. “It looks like you’re feeling really frustrated right now. Are you?”
Also show empathy, even if you don’t understand or endorse a certain reaction or behavior. “I understand that it feels bad when you don’t get something that you really want.”
Positive self-talk and affirmations can help your child feel confident and cultivate a healthy self-image. Kid-friendly affirmations are often included in My Little Growing Mindset posts on Instagram.
The most effective way to teach your child appropriate expressions of feelings is by modeling these skills yourself. But let’s be real, parenting is hard. It comes with strong emotions. While we want to be our best selves for our children, we’re human. Some of the top Google searches out there reveal our concerns:
Parenting without power struggles
Parenting without yelling
Parenting without anger
When things get heated, talk through it out loud.
“I am feeling angry because…”
“I need to take some deep breaths because…”
“I am learning to stay calm when I’m upset.”
With this, you’ll be modeling emotional regulation and growth mindset at the same time.
Complex Problem Solving.
While AI can be incredibly helpful, it can also give us some inaccurate information. A person with growth mindset questions the information they get and thinks critically about the right way to use it. Those who can identify issues, analyze data on deeper levels, and solve problems will be in demand.
How to Help Your Child Develop Problem Solving Skills:
Open-ended activities with no set goal are best for exploration.
A giant cardboard box and some markers.
Fort building with cushions and blankets.
Playing in a sandbox or with a water table.
Arts and Crafts
Provide a prompt and a few limited art supplies, but don’t give instructions. Such as, make a bird using just these cardboard tubes, pipe cleaners, and foam stickers.
Take turns adding sentences to make up a silly, scary or adventurous story.
Think Outside the Box
Find new uses for everything. After building the step-by-step Lego airplane kit, encourage your child to take it apart and see what else he can create.
Be Open to Self-initiated Ideas
She wants to combine some odd food flavors? He wants to wear two different shoes? Okay, let’s see what happens!
Kids need to be taught from any early age to follow directions and rules. Of course, that’s a no-brainer. But it can be limiting to your child’s self confidence and problem-solving abilities. Give her opportunities to decide how to solve her everyday problems, but without offering possible solutions. These activities foster a growth mindset because your child will see the world around her as a place where she has influence and where her choices matter.
Individuals who are able to handle setbacks and continue to persist will have an advantage throughout life, no matter what the future holds. The ability to cope with change and uncertainty will also be an asset along any career path. Savvy employers will always want a person with grit, who strives for excellence and prioritizes progress over perfection.
When we apply a growth mindset, we are open to taking risks along the path to success. Mistakes are an opportunity to learn and improve. We see failure not as total defeat, but instead, just a step towards finding a solution.
How Your Child Can Build Resilience:
With any new activity or challenging event, resist the urge to swoop in and help your child at the first sign of struggle. Give him the opportunity to show you that he can handle disappointment. Then praise his effort in managing those feelings and trying again.
Challenges and Consequences
Learn a musical instrument
Play board games
Chores and personal responsibilities, with consequences for not following through (check out the eBook “Learning to Help” here)
A new sport, outside of his or her natural talents
Teach your child how to delay gratification. Resilience means accepting you can’t always have what you want as soon as you want it. When signing up for a new activity, talk with your child about what she would like to learn or achieve, and commit to finishing the whole session or season.
When he asks for a new toy, tv time, or a special snack, assign a task or delay granting the request until the time is right. “Mommy needs to finish folding this laundry first. Help me match the socks and then we’ll fix your snack together.” It’s been proven that people who can accept delayed gratification lead happier, healthier lives.
When adding these tactics, it’s still totally practical to use positive parenting techniques that feel good and boost a child’s confidence. The approach here allows natural consequences for poor choices, rather than shielding your child from disappointments. You’re showing him that he can make good choices to impact his experience of the world around him. Any chosen parenting style can incorporate these concepts to build resilience.
Lastly, model resilience in yourself. When you’re tackling a challenge, show it. As parents we often think that we should already have all the answers, or at least appear that way. When you’re taking on a new home improvement project, or committing to cut down on screen time, think of it as a teachable moment. Talk about how it feels when things are difficult, how you plan to find a solution, and how you expect to feel when you have persisted and succeeded. Growth mindset is demonstrated in your confidence that you can figure out a way to get it done, no matter what.
Each of the skills above can be developed in your child with low tech or even no tech. While too much screen time can be harmful, digital devices and technology are powerful tools for learning and a necessary part of modern life.
To thrive in the future workplace, it’ll be important to stay up-to-date with ever-evolving changes in technology. Currently this includes the understanding of basic computer terms and how to use digital tools, software, and social media. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, Chat GPT, automation, the metaverse, and the Internet of Things will only continue to evolve. Who knows what the future holds?
A growth mindset allows us to approach technology with a sense of wonder and discovery, a tool to be applied in creative ways, rather than seeing it as a threat to our own abilities and intelligence.
A growth mindset also helps an individual see their potential, rather than thinking with the limitations of a fixed mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset might believe that tech is only for “smart” kids or “rich” people. Recognizing your ability to learn is key to embracing new ideas and taking on challenges.
How to Teach Your Child Digital Literacy:
Parenting in the age of digital technology is no easy task. There’s much to consider.
When it comes to healthy child development, screen time matters. For children younger than 18 months, The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages any media use, except for social interactions, such as video chatting. If you begin using digital media with children ages 18 to 24 months, make sure it's high quality and use it together. For children ages 2 to 5, it’s recommended to limit screen time to one hour a day of high-quality media.
How to Get Started:
Preview programs, games and apps before allowing your child to see them.
Use parental controls on devices and apps.
Use tech with your child or stay close by to supervise.
Educational, interactive options are best. Your child will be engaged and thinking, rather than just watching passively.
When watching programming with your child, discuss what you're watching and educate him about advertising and commercials.
Talk about setting time limits with a shared goal in mind, such as going to the park after watching just one episode.
When your child enters school, she’s likely to encounter new technologies often. When she talks about the new device at school, show that you’re curious to learn about it, too. Ask her to explain what it looks like, how it’s used, if there are any new words she’s learned.
Additionally, many schools include these aspects of digital literacy in their curriculum:
Ethical use of digital resources
Understanding digital footprints
Protecting yourself online
Handling digital communication
No matter what happens in the future of education, you've got the power to make a big impact right now. Start early to set standards for responsible use with your kiddo, and also demonstrate a curiosity for using technology in a productive way. Building this aspect of growth mindset now will help your child crush it in the hi-tech world yet to come.
The Time is Now.
As technology keeps evolving at breakneck speed and job requirements shift, these 5 growth mindset skills are going to be more important than ever before. Be purposeful in building these skills in your child. Jot down the list now and keep it handy:
A lifelong commitment to learning.
Complex problem solving.
Will you remember all the other tips above? Make sure to keep coming back to them and find ways to work them into your daily routine with your little one. Encourage him to ask questions and think outside the box, and help her learn how to handle those big feelings when things get tough. And don't forget to let them struggle a bit and push through challenges, it'll make 'em stronger! If you can help your child build these skills, she’ll be ready to take on whatever comes her way.
Growth mindset parenting is where it's at, and I’m here to help! Learn more about Growth Mindset with the many resources available at My Little Growing Mindset. The books, blog, printables and activities here build your habit of growth mindset parenting for your baby, toddler or preschooler. Every day, in the ways that you ask questions, make observations, and praise your child, you can foster a growth mindset, putting your little one on a path to a happy, healthy and successful future.