Never Tell Your Child They Are Smart

That's right! No catch. No bait and switch. Truly, never tell your child they are smart.

I, like many parents, have an innate fear that I will screw up my child in some way. One day, I will say that one thing that completely screws them up. I will be having a bad day, my patience will be low and BAM. It will fly out of my mouth and I will never be able to take it back. Their confidence will plummet, they will throw it back at me when they are 18 and angry at me, and any sadness they have, I know it will because I failed them that day.

Well, that may happen, but I have something significantly more scary to share with you. In fact, you have almost with certainty, already "screwed" them up and it was during a moment that you were calm, thoughtful and even fully conscious of the words coming out of your mouth. You deliberately said these words with the intention of helping them, boosting their confidence and making them smile.

One of the greatest books I have read on parenting is not really a parenting book at all. It's called Mindset and it's by Carol Dweck. I read this book upon recommendation by someone I trust and it is one that I believe every parent, employer/boss, teacher or influencer of any kind should read. In fact, even if you are not an influencer to others, you are to yourself. You determine your own values, self worth and potential. The trouble is, most of these "decisions" that you made around these topics, were suggested to you by others, and you adopted them to heart.

Do you remember that time they got an A in spelling and you told them how smart they are?
Or what about that time she hit the baseball and got a home run and you told them they were the best player that day?
Oh, and what about that time he did that school play and you told them, "you're a natural! I can't believe how great you are at that. I am so proud of you!"

Well, If you have said any of the previous statements, you have screwed up your kids. Crazy right?!?! I know! It scared the poop out of me so I wanted to understand why.

To save my typing and missing some key points, I very strongly encourage you to watch the video below. It is a summary of a study on Praise for Intelligence vs Praise for Effort and the INSTANT ramifications of it. If you have a Fixed mindset yourself, which most of us do, this will be troubling. But if you have or want to develop a Growth Mindset, you will find this incredibly empowering and want to learn more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWv1VdDeoRY

This was such a simple study that was all done in one day that had such dramatic results, for better or worse. Can you imagine days, weeks and months of this subtle change in praise and the positive results that could come if they heard it from teachers, coaches and of course, parents?

Build a Biz Kids trains our facilitators in a growth mindset and are continuing to learn more and more about our impact on students. We would like to encourage the parents of our students to join us in learning and practicing the subtle difference and see the incredible results.

My son would often give up very early on projects and not want to strive to go the extra mile on something like handmade birthday cards, school projects, and yes, even his business when taking our program. But once we discovered that some of this lack of effort might actually be our fault, we made a change, and the results were immediate!

Last week he, not only sat with no iPad or TV in the background, he completed his first ever model airplane. He painted and glued and and did everything he could until he had to wait for everything to dry. He even had a bit of a meltdown when he thought he broke a piece but the next time he was home with time to work on it, he couldn't wait to get back to it! Now he is looking to find the perfect model car to take on next.

We still catch ourselves when talking about how he played at baseball or in his school play wanting to tell him how amazing the results were, but we are getting faster and faster to catch ourselves and praise him on the effort he put into going to baseball practice each day; working really hard on remembering his lines for the play by reciting them in the car on the way to school and how impressed we are by the effort and creativity it took for him to come up with such unique ideas for his handmade birthday cards.

While not everyone in his life may understand fixed vs growth mindset or praising on effort rather than results, as parents, it starts at home. To date, this has been one of the most important blogs we have written and we really hope you will watch the video above to learn more. I really hope you will read the Book Mindset as well. We get zero dollars by promoting it.

Lastly, we hope that you realize that as a parent, an employee, as a friend, an artist, an entrepreneur and all of the other titles you hold, you, too, may have a fixed mindset based on fixed praise and values you were given as a child, and even as an adult. But with awareness and persistence, you can reprogram yourself to want more, do more, and have greater confidence to take on new challenges.

We wish you growth


"So What??"

Our KidPreneurs have had an exciting couple of weeks exploring business ideas by looking at how businesses are started. They have experience taking their passions & interests or solving a day to day problem and turning them into a business.

So What?

Our KidPreneurs have built their confidence by discovering their innate ability to be creative solution oriented thinkers.

So What?

Catching on? This is an exercise that we play with the kids to help them see past the features and into the benefits to really get to the core of why someone would want to buy their product. If you go deep enough with this exercise, you can get down the the real "WHY" you are building your business and attract customers who feel the same way.

This stage of the program reminds me of the famous work by Simon Sinek called “Start With Why.” In his work, Simon highlights that brands who understand the reason they do what they do have greater success in attracting customers and brand loyalty.

Our exercise looked like this;

So you have decided to make a bar of soap that has toys inside… So What?

- "So it looks cool"

So your bar of soap looks cool… so what?

- "So kids think the toy in the soap is cool"

So Kids think the toy in your bar of soap is cool… so what?

- "So kids are more likely to wash their hands to get the toy"

And there it is. You’ve made a product that has features that kids like such as cool colours, toys, etc with a benefit for parents…kids will want to wash their hands.

The Features and Benefits lesson was a lot of fun with these KidPreneurs. They are getting very excited to talk about their products with customers at the upcoming Market Day on November 24th at Henderson Place Mall from Noon – 4:00 PM.

Don't be afraid to ask them "why" or dig deep into their product features and benefits. It's great practice for them as they hone in on their sales pitch.

They hope to see you there!


OH! What If .....???

“Oh! What if….?”

The most amazing part about working with kids is that they have yet to learn what the box is and are not limited to what ideas are “in the box” or “out of the box” thinking.

Only two weeks into our after-school program launch and I’ve found a new favorite phrase. “Oh! What if….?” It’s a phrase that comes with bright excited eyes and usually the student is bouncing a little in their chair. This phrase “oh! What if….?” Is the beginning of possibility and an exercise in creative showcasing.

Problem solving is a creative process and, in our KidPreneur programming, we focus on seeing problems as opportunities to be creative. In yesterday’s class we presented several everyday problems like spilled milk, muddy dog paws, sand on the beach towel and muffins that stick to the wrapper. In teams, the kids began to develop new innovative products to address these problems. Once the kids got a few safe ideas out of the way and were over the fear of being “wrong” the energy in the room began to soar as ideas began to flow.

“We can’t think of anything to clean a dog’s muddy paws”, quickly became “Oh! What if we had socks the dog could wear!”

That’s when the ideas began to flow “Oh! What if we had a brush that sprayed water to get the mud off….. Oh! What if it included a soap dispenser…? Oh! What if it also attached to a hose… Oh! And what if it also blew bubbles to entertain the dog… Oh! Or what if it dispenses a dog treat…”

I anticipate that I will have a new favorite phrases and parts of the program every week but for now, I am inspired by watching these kids discover their creative authority as they take ownership of their ideas a present them to the class. As the kids left for the day, there was an excitement and anticipation for the opportunities in front of them and I could tell the thoughts of “oh! What if…?” was going home with them and I hope this empowerment stays with these KidPreneurs long after the program.


The Summer Slide

It’s that exciting time of year when routine is thrown out with last years’ workbooks!

Growing up, summer break was exactly that, “a break”. We counted down the days until our school year ended so we could turn off our brains for two months. The only math I would do was to count the change I found in the cushions to know if I could afford anything when I hear the ice cream truck music. Today It’s the same for my son. Just last night I heard: “…but I’m trying to not do math because it’s summer and I’m giving my brain a break.”

We are beginning to learn more about the impacts of this break on our kids. It’s called the summer slide. It’s not a new ride at Playland. It’s the challenge of parents and teachers every summer to maintain the learning momentum.

In a recent discussion with the team at Kumon, I learned more about the affects of ‘Summer Learning Loss’. Here are the chilling stats:

  • Students will lose 2.6 months of math computational skills over the summer.
  • Students will lose 2 months of reading skills over the summer (on average).
  • By 6th grade, students will lose more than 18 months of learning due to summer learning loss.

By the time the school bell rings again in September, some students are prepared for a new year of curriculum while others require six weeks of catch up to re-learn last years lessons. So how can we keep our kids engaged throughout the summer and send them back to school ready for a new year?

Apparently, it takes just 17-25 minutes per day of focused work to prevent summer learning loss. Here’s a few fun ways to keep kids engaged in learning throughout the summer.

  • Enroll them in a Summer Learning Programs such as Kumon

- They offer Individualized support, not tutoring, to address the root of their challenges and gaps in knowledge. They teach students to re-learn the foundations so they can excel quickly at their current grade level. Here is how Kumon works

  • Enroll them in Summer Camps that are fun but also engage their minds

- Summer Camps help with social engagement but also, depending on the camp, offer new ways to learn and engage the mind.

BuildaBizKids.com offers entrepreneur camps to stir their creativity while engaging in financial literacy, reading comprehension and social awareness.

  • Find Online Workbooks or Programs

- A quick Google search can offer assorted paid and free worksheets and programs they can do online or print and complete.

  • Create an at home Daily Reading and Mathematics Challenge

- Your local library will have great programs put on each summer to encourage ongoing learning as well as incentives for reading with rewards.

The key with any of these activities, is consistency throughout the summer. Give them time to run, to socialize, to be creative but also to apply what they have learned in school to the world around them. Try making it a group activity with their friends and let them contribute their own ideas on new & exciting ways to apply their knowledge.

Summer is a time for fun, that’s for sure. But when September comes around again, if they aren’t as stressed out with learning or catching up on the curriculum, then suddenly school becomes a fun time as well.