A girl with a smile operates a robot on a table, observed by two boys and a Club mentor, in a classroom.

With a grant from Caesars Foundation, staff helps Club kids cultivate a growth mindset, making them resilient and ready to embrace opportunities.

A Growth Mindset Matters: Helping Youth Be Resilient

The way a child thinks has a big impact on how they see the world. It affects how they handle problems, what they feel when they meet new challenges and how strong they stay when things don’t happen as they wanted. By fostering a growth mindset, youth can approach life with positivity, learn from difficulties, and build the confidence they need to overcome obstacles and embrace new opportunities.

Parents, caregivers and mentors can play an important role in helping young people learn healthy habits to adopt a growth mindset and reach their full potential.

Here’s more information about this mindset, ways parents and caregivers can cultivate one in their child and how Clubs and partners support youth, too!

What Is a Growth Mindset?

Coined by Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University,1 a growth mindset refers to the belief that your abilities can improve with effort and learning. People with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities to grow and are willing to try new things.

While your child may recognize when they feel optimistic or discouraged, they may not fully understand how a growth mindset can impact how they interpret their everyday lives. Similarly, they may not realize how much control they have over their mindset (and thus their mood and opportunities) by picking up a few positive daily habits.

At Boys & Girls Clubs, staff and mentors foster a growth mindset for kids, help them build confidence and realize their full potential. Through partnerships with Caesars Foundation and Caesars Entertainment, Clubs encourage youth to try high-yield activities full of playful learning that expand their horizons and work with kids and teens to develop healthy confidence, self-advocacy and leadership skills.

In addition, members of Caesars’ community involvement team, known as “HERO,” volunteer time at local Clubs to help Club kids nurture a growth mindset.

When our HERO volunteers organize learning activities for local Club kids, like teaching them to rebuild a video game, build a battery-operated torch or prepare delicious treats, the kids take on exciting challenges that help them learn new skills. Although these projects may be difficult at times, kids feel proud and amazed by what they can achieve when they persevere. These experiences inspire Club kids to try something new, which can lead to a future career in that field. — Marilou Pilman, HERO Chair for Grand Victoria Casino

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

According to Psychology Today, people often find themselves thinking with either a “growth mindset” (the belief that you can get better at things over time with practice) or a “fixed mindset” (the belief that practice doesn’t change things and there is no use in trying). It’s important for young people to understand these mindsets to fully understand how they can improve. Are they facing the day with optimism? Are they willing to take on new challenges and believe they will succeed? Or do they feel certain things aren’t worth trying?

Today’s youth are struggling: Nearly half (47%) say if they don’t understand something right away, they stop trying to understand.2

Adopting a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset helps kids grow personally and stay open to learning and improving in different aspects of life. Research shows that youth with a growth mindset are more likely to choose activities that challenge them to learn new things.3 When they make mistakes or fail, they view it as a chance to learn and get better, rather than a step backward. This helps them build resiliency and do better in school and life.

The Data Backs It Up

Data from Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2023 National Youth Outcomes Initiative (NYOI) survey supports Dweck’s findings. Young people who choose activities that challenge them to learn new things are more likely to do well in school and graduate on time.

Club members who choose activities that push them to learn new things are more likely to be on track to graduate on time.

A growth mindset helps everyone cope with challenges. Rather than seeing challenges as unsurmountable or imagining that their capacity isn’t going to change, people with a growth mindset know that they can become more equipped to solve problems.

And when it comes to Club kids, youth with higher coping skills are also more likely to be on track to graduate on time.

Club members who have high coping skills are more likely to be on track to graduate on time.

When talking about a growth mindset with your child, remind them that even if they don’t understand something yet, they have enormous potential to keep learning by trying. In fact, developing a learning mindset is something that everyone, at any age, can continue to develop.

Here are some tips to support a young person’s awareness of their growth mindset:

Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Kids with Daily Check-ins

Work with your child to set aside time each day for a daily check-in to foster a growth mindset. Not only is this daily check-in a good time for them to tune into any emotions they might have about their day, but it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the root of those feelings and make an action plan to help them build confidence in moving forward.

During these check-ins, young people can ask themselves questions like “What went well at school today?” or “What do I want to go better next time?” If your child is having difficulty identifying their emotions, you might reframe the question to be a fill-in-the-blank, such as prompting them with: “Tomorrow, I hope _____ happens (or doesn’t happen) at school.”

Daily check-ins don’t have to be lengthy (anywhere from 5-15 minutes) and can be included at any point of your child’s day. But they shouldn’t feel like a chore — if your child often feels rushed in the mornings, consider suggesting taking some time in the evenings for this check-in. And remember, daily check-ins are meant to help a child recognize and celebrate progress — not just final results. Parents and caregivers can help youth develop and maintain a growth mindset when they keep the focus on incremental improvements. When a young person can recognize the ways they are advancing, it encourages them to take on bigger challenges because they believe in themselves and they know you do, too.

Look Beyond the Comfort Zone

As humans of any age, we all want to feel a certain level of comfort in our daily lives. However, we also know that growth comes from trying new things.

When kids try new things, they may surprise themselves with how happy it made them or how much success they had with something they didn’t believe they could do. This empowers them to become more comfortable with the uncomfortable, and open up their potential for growth and opportunity.

Challenge young people to think back to a time when they did something they were scared to do. This can be a powerful reflection tool to cultivate a learning mindset and remind them how much they are capable of when they believe in themselves.

At Clubs, kids and teens are encouraged to step beyond their comfort zones, try new activities and embrace challenges as they learn. High-yield learning programs, like Power Hour, DIY STEM and Summer Brain Gain, supported by Caesars, provide fun and hands-on experiences that foster critical thinking skills.

Some young people may see the benefit of trying challenging things, while others prefer to stay in their comfort zone. Whatever it is, Clubs motivate kids to be open to new and unfamiliar challenges by reminding them how powerful they will feel afterward. — Chrissy Chen, National Director of Youth Development Programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Practice Positive Self-Talk

Many of us have heard the age-old saying “You are the company you keep” – but how many of us really think about what this means? And how can we teach this concept to our children?

Grown-ups around them can influence how young people think and handle problems. As parents and caregivers, you have an important role in helping kids build confidence and self-esteem. Show them how to talk kindly to themselves in everyday situations by adopting a learning mindset and modeling it yourself. Even when things don’t go well, remind them that it’s okay and part of life.

For instance, think about a time when you faced something really tough for the first time, like riding a bike or learning to swim. You might have struggled at first, but with practice and effort, you got better and better. This shows that when you work at something, you can improve over time.

Avoid using negative fixed-mindset phrases, like saying, “I’m just not a math person” or “I’ll never be good at running.” Instead, encourage your child to focus on the idea that they might not be good at something “yet,” but with effort and learning, they can get better.

Feeling stressed? 7 out of 10 youth say when something important goes wrong in their life, they can’t stop worrying about it.2

A good practice for positive self-talk is using simple phrases that make your child feel confident and hopeful. Pick ones that fit their age and preferences. Here are some growth-mindset phrases to think about:


  • “I can get better when I keep trying.”
  • “Challenges help me learn and improve.”
  • “I can do great things if I work hard.”
  • “I’m always getting better.”

Saying these phrases, again and again, helps them stick in our minds, which can change how we think. Doing something repeatedly is an effective way to change how we look at things. By showing these ideas and using growth-mindset phrases, you can help kids learn to face challenges, see progress and believe they can continually improve over time.

How a Growth Mindset for Students Impacts Their Future Careers

When we focus on improving our mindset, our brain begins to see the power behind taking control of how we interpret our day. The positive self-talk goes from a mantra to a belief, we’re more likely to step out of our comfort zones to try something new, and we feel capable of growth.

Mind over matter: 62% of Club kids feel confident they have the skills to succeed.2

Studies show that believing in our ability to learn and improve has a big impact on our success in life.4 As you talk about a growth mindset with your child and incorporate this guidance, encourage them to recognize how this mindset can positively impact their future careers. By cultivating a growth mindset, they will develop essential qualities that employers highly value. The ability to adapt to new challenges, a willingness to learn and grow and a strong sense of resilience are all characteristics that can lead to success in any career.

Developing a growth mindset is important for young people as they advance in the workplace or at school, work with diverse teams and explore future opportunities because they apply what they’ve learned from those various experiences to the new and exciting challenges ahead. — Ana Munoz, Director of Community Impact & Giving, Caesars Entertainment

Caesars Foundation, the corporate giving platform of Caesars Entertainment, supports Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s efforts to activate a comprehensive approach to learning through Project Learn. Clubs within select Caesars key markets will benefit from this partnership through a variety of programs and strategies designed to enhance the educational experience of all Club kids. This investment will help Caesars reach its goal of empowering Club kids toward brighter futures by supporting educational programming and connecting with their communities.

Stay in the Know

Boys & Girls Clubs of America provides youth mentorship, engaging programming and meaningful life experiences that boost youth self-esteem, build confidence and contribute to healthy mental, emotional and physical well-being. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest resources and stories from Clubs across the country.

1 Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. -

2 2023 Youth Right Now Report - https://www.bgca.org/about-us/youth-right-now

3 Mind Your Errors: Evidence for a Neural Mechanism Linking Growth Mind-Set to Adaptive Posterror Adjustments - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797611419520

4 Mind over matter: Study shows mindset is a larger contributor to academic success than socioeconomic background - https://www.fullfabric.com/articles/mind-over-matter-study-shows-mindset-is-a-larger-contributor-to-academic-success-than-socioeconomic-background

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