Saying YES and Growth Mindset

Whenever possible, I try to say “yes” to my children. Sometimes, I am too tired and I want to say no. Sometimes, whatever they want isn’t what I want to do and I want to say no. Sometimes, I just plain don’t like what they want and I want to say no. But then I ask myself, is it dangerous? Do we have time? Can they benefit from this? If my answers are that it is not particularly dangerous, we have a bit of time, and they might learn something - it is time to say yes, even if I may not want to.

Experts show that we say “no” to toddlers an average of 400 times per day. If a toddler is told no every time he moves to do something, how long before he no longer tries? Before he no longer explores? Before he loses his sense of finding his limits? This is a toddlers job: to explore, to try things, to find their personal limits of what is possible.

Step into almost any kindergarten class or spend time with young kids, and those who have been told no consistently, will constantly ask permission. Even something they have been asked to do! I remember one child at recess who came and asked permission to use the slide, on the play scape, outside, at recess. That is exactly what kids are supposed to be doing at recess! This little one had been told no so many times, he didn’t know what he could do.

Let’s extrapolate that into a bigger picture. Solving a pressing world problem, this little one will look around and ask permission for a way to solve it, instead of trying new things, instead of using creativity and curiosity - because every time he has been creative and curious he, was told no.

Hearing no all the time can cause children to shut down and stop trying; it can put a lid on the natural jar of wonder that is childhood. In contrast, a child who hears yes more often is better able to try new things, has a positive outlook, and believes in possibilities.

A growth mindset is often seen as the ability to struggle, to fail, to be wrong, and to try again. To understand that failure is only the outcome of one possibility, so its time to try again and find another. If you hear no all the time, trying again may seem difficult - your project just told you no, it didn’t work - why try again? If you are used to hearing yes - your project just told you this way doesn’t work - find another.

That’s not to say that we don’t ever say no. But if I’m saying no for myself - I try to say yes instead.

Try to find ways in your home and in your life to set up situations where you can say yes to your children’s ideas. Think of ways to get to yes. It can make a world of difference in how your child perceives the world.

“Here's What Happens To Your Child's Brain When They Hear “No" By Candace Ganger, Apr 13 2018

“How to Say No (Without Saying No) "No." Kids hate to hear it, and you hate to say it — but how else can you keep them safe and well-behaved?” By Barbara Aria , Jan 14, 2008

Tanya Sheckley