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The Greville Primary School

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How to talk to your children

Say this...

Don't say this...

"I can see you worked so hard on this!" This shows your child that you value their effort.

“You are so smart!” Do not say this as children will learn that intelligence is fixed.

"It seems like it's time to try a new strategy." - Say this because it lets your children know that they control outcomes by making choices.

“It’s okay. Maybe you’re just not cut out for this!” This makes your child think they don’t have the capacity to improve.

"I like watching you do that." This conveys a message of approval of an activity they enjoy doing regardless of outcome.

“You're a natural at that!” The next time your child fails they may think they do not have that talent after all.

It looks like that was too easy for you. Let's find something challenging so your brain can grow." This teaches children that learning should be challenging to grow their brains.

“That’s right! You did that so quickly and easily; great job!” Praising tasks completed without much effort paints effort in a negative light.

“That’s not right. You don’t understand this yet. What strategies can you try to understand it better?” It's important to be honest with what your child knows and doesn't know but also to then help them with their next steps.

“That’s not right. Are you paying attention in class? It seems like you’re not even trying.” The fight or flight response may be preventing your child from giving their best effort in class.

“That was really hard. Your effort has paid off! Next time you’ll be ready for this kind of challenge!” Reminding children of how they were able to overcome challenges by putting forth effort.

“That was really hard. I’m so glad it’s over and you don’t have to do that again.” There will always be more challenges, and the children should feel that they have the tools for what comes next.

“You’ve worked hard to become a good writer. You should challenge yourself with an advanced class, and learn something you don’t know how to do yet.” Putting your children in the challenge zone is how to inspire lifelong learning.

“You have a real talent for writing. You should take a creative writing class because you’re so good at it.” If you only encourage your children to do what they are good at, they will be afraid to try new things and take risks.