Many parents and educators acknowledge an essential fact today: kids need more than just a formal education to be successful.
Of course, the definition of success varies from person to person, so let's settle what we mean by success here. When talking about your kid's success, we mean accomplishing hard and specific soft skills as well.
Soft skills are critical for your child to help them cope in the outside world effectively.
According to a Job Outlook 2020 survey, 91.2% of respondents rated problem-solving skills to be the most important one in any potential employee; 86.3% reported teamwork, 80.4% reported work ethic, and about 69-77% reported communication skills be the most desirable attributes.
But what are soft skills, and why do they matter so much? Let's explore to understand better!
What are soft skills?
Unlike hard skills - maths, science, reading, writing, etc. - soft skills are hard to quantify, but that doesn't make them any less critical—quite the contrary.
Soft skills are your classic "good student" behaviors and more than that. Abilities like outstanding leadership, good communication, self-discipline, responsibility, teamwork are generally known as soft skills.
Often referred to as "other skills" on students' report cards, these are essential for their overall personality development.
There are no strict parameters for measuring them, but these are the core skills that will define how well your child deals with the everyday situation.
Soft skills matter more than hard skills in today's time. Most recruiters want more than just excellent vocational qualifications - the ability to communicate, collaborate, solve a problem at hand, creativity, and leadership.
Ultimately, if you want your child to succeed and achieve all their goals, you should help them develop these essential core skills.
Why so soon?
Because it's never really too soon.
These core skills are not just to get your child to memorize, like a poem or counting. Soft skills have to be developed with practice, empathy, and understanding.
Children are very malleable. Unlike adults, they don't struggle with complex emotions and long-established patterns of habit. They are quick learners and much easier to teach.
Whatever they learn now will determine how successful they are going to be in different areas of their lives in the future.
You have to start training your child with these soft skills from a young age to establish a pattern of continuous self-improvement and learning.
So what are the three crucial soft skills, and how can your kid develop them successfully? Let's have a look!
Communication is perhaps the most critical soft skill that kids need to master today. A good communicator knows not only how to deliver the right message but also how to receive it.
Communication skills are more than just reading, writing, and talking. It's successful only when a mutual understanding is established between two people.
Why is communication important for your child? It's important because it will help your kid with the following:
? Express themselves clearly
? Effective exchange of information and messages
? Better social and interpersonal skills
? Make them a better team player
? Help build their confidence and self-esteem
? Communication is the one soft skill that will determine how good your child is at other soft and hard skills.
How to communicate effectively?
We have to make our kids understand one essential thing - communication is not only about talking. We communicate through many other things - our expressions, body language, the clothes we wear, even through silence!
So starting with the basics, teach your kids to be confident in themselves and use their body language, choice of clothes, proper expressions, and even silence to communicate intent, confidence, goodwill, and kindness.
Now for the direct interaction, many small games and activities will improve your child's communication skills.
? Participation in debates, speeches, and verbal reading can build up their confidence and help them avoid frequent stuttering.
? Take them to speech therapy and help them get rid of communication blocks.
? Don't interrupt them or rush them when they are trying to communicate.
? Don't be too critical and avoid frequent corrections as it may hamper their confidence
? Your child will learn the best from your example - become a good communicator yourself.
? Make sure your child learns to listen correctly - listening is as much a part of healthy communication as talking.
? Help them get comfortable with public speaking through poetry recitation, dramatic reading, and presentations.
Teamwork and collaboration
Teamwork and collaboration are other soft skills that will determine the relationships your child will establish with others.
Being a good team player doesn't come easily - it takes a lot of empathy, understanding, sharing, and good communication.
If you want your kids to be successful, you must teach them the value of collaboration and being a good team player. It teaches them valuable workplace values and also becomes the core pillar for future friendships.
Teaching kids to be a team player will help them with the following:
? develop their social skills and teach them how to deal with different people and perspectives
? Teach them patience and behave in a controlled manner
? Help them develop empathy and create meaningful relationships
? Teach them how to compromise and tolerate when there is a disagreement
? Improve their problem-solving skills and help them better cope with conflicts
How to make them better team players?
The best way to develop their collaborative skills is to help them participate more in different games and events. Follow the following tips to help your kid become an excellent teammate:
? Help them see the big picture by talking about what the "team" needs and not what they need.
? Teach them to wait patiently for their turns before any activity and ask them to give other equal chances.
? Teach them how to give and take constructive criticism and not shame or ridicule anyone for their mistakes.
? Make them active listeners and honest players.
? Teach them how to take responsibility for their mistakes gracefully.
Ignite their creativity
Creativity is something that helps in problem-solving, resolution of conflicts, innovation, and also motivation. A child's developing brain is capable of vivid imagination and innovation when steered in the right direction.
Many people have a misconception that creativity is all about arts and crafts and play - absolutely not. It's creativity and imagination that have led to significant scientific discoveries and innovations as well.
As per a report by McKinsey Global Institute, creativity and other cognitive skills will be 10% more in demand by 2030. So you better start helping your kid develop their creativity!
By sparking the imagination of your ward, you will help them in:
? Gaining self-confidence
? Developing better problem-solving skills
? Improve their focus and concentration
? Pave the way for innovation and invention
? Improve their fine motor skills
? Having fun and relax
How to spark their imagination?
Many people believe that creativity is a gift you are born with and not a skill to be developed. That's not true, though.
Creativity begets creativity. Just like any other soft skill, creativity can also be developed by practice and indulgence.
If your child indulges in creative acts and games, that will naturally spark their imagination and help them find different ways to achieve their goals.
To help your child get more creative, you have to open your mind about this skill. You must understand that creativity has a broad definition beyond mere arts, crafts, and inventions. Problem-solving, conflict resolution, better communication, new games are also a result of creative thinking.
Here are some ways in which you can get your kid's creative juices flowing:
? Reduce TV and computer games. They provide too much stimulation to the brain, not giving them a chance to get bored and think of different ways to beat that boredom.
? Stock up on arts and crafts supplies and let your children have them. You'll soon see the kids doing something interesting with them.
? Read stories to them and ask them to do plays with you. Reading stories is an excellent way of letting one's imagination run wild.
? Let them get bored. Yeah, they might throw a little tantrum, but eventually, boredom becomes a great motivator for people to think of all sorts of creative mischief to kill that bland vibe going on.
? Encourage plays and fancy dress parties, and drama. Let them make and match their dresses for different roles and allow them to play with different colors of clothes and accessories.
? Value art and craft in your home. You don't have to tolerate but actively appreciate whatever little pieces of arts, crafts, and inventions your kids come up with.
On a final note…
We have already discussed the three primary soft skills that will affect every area of your kid's life in incomplete details.
Even though these are the core of all other soft and hard skills, you must not limit your kids to these. Let them explore other related soft skills like leadership qualities, critical thinking, adaptability, positive attitude, etc.
There's too much competition and pressure out there, and your kids must be prepared for anything that life may throw at them. Let these core skills be their guide in life, and they will be successful in most of their endeavors.
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