Thinking about your kid’s future could cause you to feel anxious and worried. The reason for that is your understandable desire as a parent to give your little one a head start and prepare them for the real world.
The bad news is that you are not able to prevent every negative situation in your child’s life. The good news is that you can help your children learn certain skills that will help them overcome negative situations.
A lot of you have already been bombarded with tons of recommendations on how to raise a genius. We bet some of you might feel even more anxious and frustrated than before once you read articles that said you should do better.
We’ve put together a list of essential skills that will help your child be more confident and successful when they leave a family nest. No, we won’t tell you how to raise a genius — ask Elon Musk’s mom her secret. Our goal here is to share a particular set of skills that might help them feel more prepared for the turmoil and struggles life brings.
#1 Communication skills
It’s not a coincidence that communication skills are number one on the list. The way a child communicates with other people plays a major role in life. Researchers from Penn State and Duke University found that kids who were better at listening, sharing, and cooperating at age five were more likely to go to college. They were also more likely to be employed full-time by age 25.
That’s why it’s important to teach children social and communication skills from an early age. It’s never too soon to start showing them how to get along with others. You can start with the most basic social skills such as sharing a snack or toy, ‘cooperating’ with other kids for a common goal like building a sandcastle, saying kind words like please, thank you, I’m sorry, I love you, and so on. The older a kid becomes, the more complicated types of communication skills they should learn — empathy, respect, the ability to communicate an opinion, ability to listen respectfully and carefully, etc.
#2 Critical thinking skills
The modern world requires more than just consuming lists of facts. These days people need to be critical thinkers who are able to analyze information, make inferences, and generate fresh ideas. That’s why teaching kids critical thinking skills is so important from an early age.
Encourage your kids to think in new and different ways even if you don’t agree with them or know that their answers are wrong. Do not punish them for incorrect answers and allow them to make mistakes.
When a child asks you something, do not automatically give answers. Instead, let them find the answers themselves. Ask questions in return: “What do you think about it?”, “Do you have any ideas?”. Listen to children’s answers with respect.
Formulating hypotheses, trying out their ideas, making mistakes, and finding solutions are key elements in building critical thinking.
#3 Ability to take on challenges
One of the most important skills parents can help their children develop is being able to take on challenges, not to give up after failures, and keep trying. To learn that, children need to grow in an environment that doesn’t limit their self-expression and makes them feel safe at the same time.
Do not scare your child by saying things like: “Do not climb this tree, you’ll fall” or “Do not come close to the dog, it’ll bite you”. A kid may perceive these signs like: “Do not even try, you will fail or experience pain”. Instead, encourage your kid to try new things and allow reasonable risk, such as climbing a tree, riding a bike, or playing with a dog. Say things that will help your child to be confident enough to take on life challenges: “I’m sure you’ll make it”, “Of course, you can climb a tree. I’ll be there for you. Just give it a try”.
#4 Time management skills
Teaching your child to manage time effectively is a priceless skill. When your kid manages their own time, they will learn the value of their time and respect other people’s time as well. You can help them learn time management skills when they have household chores to do or homework assignments to complete.
However, do not turn learning these skills into stress. Instead, make it fun for kids. For instance, you can use crayons to color important events in calendars, add colorful stickers to mark special days, or make it a game to see who can complete simple tasks around the house.
Helping your child learn to manage time is an essential contribution to a kid’s future that will benefit them forever.
#5 Budgeting basics
Another powerful thing your kid should learn is how to create a budget, how to track spending, and how to save money for the future. Research shows that young people who have healthy financial habits at an early age often grow up financially responsible adults.
First of all, explain to children that money doesn’t money doesn’t grow on trees. Instill the correlation between hard work and money. For instance, you can set up a chore that shows your children how much they can earn for each completed chore.
As an alternative to this system, you could provide your kid with a monthly allowance. It is a great opportunity to teach children how to manage money from a very early age. Teach them to put money in a safe place and make them responsible for paying for something small, like a chocolate bar at the store.
These are only a few among the list of life skills children need to learn before coming up in the world. However, it’s essential to understand that children need parental support more than anything else. As a parent, you should be aiming not only to teach kids certain things about life,but give them a sense of unconditional love, emotional support, respect and protection. In the end, to empower our children is why we’re here.