Soft Skills, Real Skills, or Human skills; people call or know them by different names. It doesn’t matter what you call them, these are important skills and your child must understand, learn and act on them to be happy or successful in life.
Having said that, these 18 most important soft skills are not that easy and require constant effort, practice and learning. I am still struggling with them as I started later. Some of you may also be feeling the same. However, we can prepare our children to face the future.
Soft skills have more to do with who we are than what we know.— Marcel M. Robles
But why do we need to teach soft skills to our children? I think most of you understand and know the importance, however, go through the following list again to not take them for granted:
As you strive to become a leader, your child can also become one in their environment. Teach them about leadership from an early age. Your child should know how to lead, inspire, and make other children follow him or her to achieve common goals. They can be a leader anywhere where 2 or more kids are involved; a play, park, street, neighbourhood, class, school,…anywhere!
Teach your child about leadership by reading them storybooks, by telling your personal experiences, or through games. Search Google for leadership games for children or invent one.
Communication is a crucial skill and I would say we can’t ignore it. Go through the following statements and see in which area your child excels and where he/she needs to work out more.
Prepare your children to communicate effectively, which will help them to survive this world better.
Children should understand the difference between listening and active listening. Listening is that you are hearing what others are saying, but it is not necessary that you are understanding them properly or those words will stay in your head longer;
whereas active listening means understanding and analyzing what exactly others are saying. Focusing on words and listening to what important information they are telling you.
Teaching your child active listening will help them tremendously.
People love children who are well-mannered and have etiquette. Lately, I have been observing that today’s children lack basic manners and etiquettes like:
So, make sure that your children know manners and etiquette to help them become better day by day. Follow old rule books or remember your training to do so.
Children who know how to build rapport do better in understanding others and building connections or relationships with them.
Teach your children to be the real self when dealing with other children. Teach them to care. Teach them to listen to others. Let them know how they can be friendly. Teach them how to be trustworthy and how they can collaborate on a school project or play with other children harmoniously.
Learning to build rapport will help them in school life and also in every step of their journey of life.
Does your child face trouble in understanding other children’s emotions, feelings, points of view, or perspectives? If yes, teach them about empathy.
I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.— Roger Ebert
Mainly, children learn such things from their parents, so be a good role model to your child. When they see how you care for other people and how you help them or show concern when they are in need, your child will also follow you. So be careful when you are mean to others in front of your child.
Tell or read them stories where characters have empathy. When your child misbehaves or mistreats another kid, tell them how they would feel if they were in their shoes.
Self-control teaches your child how to resist temptations, how to delay gratifications and analyze the situations beforehand.
In today’s world, there are a lot of distractions — games, social media, ads, devices, etc. — that we face daily. We as adults are prone to give in to these temptations, so it’s hard for children as well.
Developing self-control in your child may take time and build up over the years. So be gentle when you keep reminding your child of the importance of self-control.
Be a good role model so your child can learn how you show self-control in different situations. Keep the distractions away from your child’s sight. Google “self-control games for kids” and you will find some cool games to teach self-control in a fun way.
Children with self-esteem don’t hesitate to try new things. They feel confident in talking to other children and making new friends. They accept their mistakes and don’t fear failures and are rather proud of themselves. Low self-esteem does the opposite to children.
So teach your children about self-esteem by letting them know what they are good at it and where they can improve themselves and how. Teach them to keep trying new things or goals which are reasonable or within their capabilities. Encourage them to talk to other kids.
Also, as a parent you need not decide everything for your children, let them make some healthy decisions for themselves too.
Following are some of the examples of how critical thinking skills will help your children:
On learning critical thinking skills, your child will be able to analyze a problem or situation, evaluate the available information, communicate or interpret it better and make a decision based on it.
Does your child do a particular task on time? Does he/she have a sense of time? Can they track time? If no, then start teaching them how to track time and let them know the importance of time management.
Learning time management makes your children disciplined. They should know the right time to eat food, do their homework, play outside/inside, watch TV, go to bed, etc.
How do you like the attitudes of other children? Are they positive or negative? Do you judge them accordingly? If yes, other people — you may know or not — judge your child too based on the nature of their attitude.
Our attitude towards life determines life’s attitude towards us.— John Mitchell
So, teach your child about attitude and why positive attitude matters in life. They should know how a negative attitude can impact their progress or relationships at different stages of life. Learning about a positive attitude will help him or her to be aware of their beliefs, emotions, and behaviours.
Attitude is hard to change, and your child may struggle. So reward or appreciate your child’s efforts each time he or she overcomes a negative attitude.
Do you think your children would survive when everyone in their class has friends but your children have none? Do you think they would feel good when they couldn’t get anyone to play with them in their neighbourhood or society? Surely not!
You must teach your children about friendliness. Tell them about how they can start a conversation with a new kid they meet in class or anywhere else. Tell them about listening to others. They should know how to say the right things at the right time and when to stop speaking. Talk to them about how they can appear pleasant and amicable.
Self-awareness is important in leadership, building relationships, acting responsibly in adverse situations or life problems, and other work or social life aspects.
When children are self-aware, they know what they are doing, how they are emoting, how they are behaving, they know their strengths and weaknesses, etc.
In short, you may have got my point.
Negotiation and persuasion is an intrinsic part of life. We do it almost daily. We do it in the office, home, market, while travelling, when buying and selling something, during a dispute, fight, or conflict, etc.
Government negotiates with corporations, people, other parties, etc. Countries negotiate and persuade during trade deals or in case of a war or conflict.
Children do learn these things indirectly or as they learn about them. Some are good at negotiations, and others have no idea about it. Mostly, children learn these skills by doing and erring. Some children learn it from their parents if they are good at it themselves. There is no specific teaching or emphasis about this skill on a broader scale in the schools in India.
Negotiation and persuasion skill is not a game for adults only, children need to learn it too.
Like us adults, conflicts happen with children when they communicate, play or work together on projects or tasks. Conflict resolution requires children to use other soft skills like self-control, empathy, friendliness, decision making, critical thinking, openness to criticism etc.
If a child can’t handle conflicts properly, unresolved conflicts with his/her friends or classmates or teammates could lead to frustration and disappointment.
Hence, your child should be able to understand what a conflict is and why it has happened. Once your child has identified a conflict, he/she should know how to communicate the underlying problem with other(s) and how to work on resolving it together amicably.
Your child is good at decision making if he/she can choose between two or more alternatives. If your child gets confused in such situations, he/she needs to learn decision making skills.
Teach them from your learnings when you take good or bad decisions and what were the outcomes. Discuss the things with them and let your children know when they have taken the right decisions and where they could have improved. Read your child stories or books where characters get affected with good or bad decisions and how they make those decisions.
Resourcefulness skill is an empowering quality and helps children think of creative ways whenever they are faced with obstacles in life.
Children learn resourcefulness skills when they learn new things, fix something, do creative work or projects, do playground games and other things where they would be required to think of a problem from different angles and look for a better solution. So, encourage and engage them in such activities and tell them to not give up.
We all receive criticism in life at different points. Similarly, children are also receiving it from parents, friends, teammates, classmates, teachers, etc. Hence, they should know how to be open about criticism.
Your child may feel bad, frustrated, or angry upon receiving criticism. Let your child know that they should not be defensive in such situations and are required to open themselves. They need to know how to analyze a criticism and see if there is anything to learn from it. He/she needs to understand why the other person is criticising them and perceiving them in that way.
If the criticism is bad and based on misinformation, your child should communicate the right information in a polite way. They can also take the help of adults to resolve something if required.
Note: Top Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.
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