Developing Soft Skills in Children
Written by: Malak Tariq
We live in a world where interaction with other humans is a phenomenon. Throughout our lives, we get intertwined with people cognitively and emotionally. While dealing with the day to day events of life, humans do require their brains to think and function but along with cognitive abilities; we need good emotional abilities to grow.
If dealing with events becomes difficult due to a lack of a certain skill set, then it can be inculcated. There are certain interpersonal skills that are usually not even taught in schools. But learning these skills from childhood can go a long and strong way.
Soft skills revolve around communication and discipline.
What are soft skills?
Unlike hard skills which are physical like building a fence or technical like using software – Soft skills are referred to as People Skills. These skills are difficult to measure on a scale and are not necessarily taught with a manual. They are learnt by experience. They include skills such as time management and self-confidence.
Soft skills are social skills that are especially vital for children in their fundamental years so that they take these skills into their long term life experiences. When children adopt these skills, they become adults with growth, development and future work opportunities.
Parents are the first school a child can ever have. Children mimic what they see and if they do not have an environment where soft skills thrive, they find it hard to communicate. Without turning into demanding beings, parents can make soft skills an integral part of their lives with kids.
Here are 8 soft skills and the ways in which parents can imbibe them in children:
Good communication consists of clarity, correctness and conciseness. Parents can teach their children to communicate actively while being in the present without averting their gaze or mumbling. This will go a long way in their one on one interaction on a phone call or in-person and even presentations in work life.
Another important aspect of communication is listening. This soft skill is extremely important to understand people around and learn from them. It requires added attention in today’s distracted world.
3. Building Relationships:
Making friends and alliances is another important soft skill. Being kind to people and talking to them one on one is one necessary skill that matters even in the age of social media communication. Parents can inculcate this skill in children by asking children about their day. They should also encourage children to meet and greet people pleasantly. Playing with other children improves the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of a child. Through play, children learn the skills they will need for their future study, work and relationships so encouraging your child to interact with other children is great for their development.
Seeing things from another person’s perspective is an important part of empathy. Parents should validate their child’s feelings. Parents can be role models for their kids by helping those who need support and by responding instead of reacting immediately to a situation. Parents should help children by reading stories, observing others and encouraging volunteer work.
Parents play a crucial role here. When children see their parents doing teamwork and guiding each other and people around, they imbibe these values.
Even a simple game of blindfolding can work wonders. Parents can have themselves or other members along with them blindfolded except for the child. The one who is not blindfolded guides everyone else across the room. Such acts enhance the ability to guide and support and those are the qualities of a leader.
6. Infuse Creativity:
Talk to your child about creating things. Dabble with prompts for writing, speaking, storytelling and drawing. Encourage your child to talk about what their favourite television or video game character did and tell you what they would have done differently. Visualizing different scenarios is also shown to increase creativity, openness, and openness to risk or new situations. These soft skills are ones your child will carry with them throughout their entire lives.
7. Problem Solving:
When problems arise, parents should not rush to solve them for their kids. Instead, they should help their children walk through the problem-solving steps. Everyone thinks differently, after all, and hearing what your child does in sticky situations will spark their imagination and help you understand who they are becoming. Parents can put some visuals of the problem-solving steps on the refrigerator door, where they are visible for children to refer to on an ongoing basis.
Identify what the problem is
Think about solutions
Think about what will happen if…?
Try the solution
Pro tip: Read children’s books where the characters encounter a problem for your kids.
Confidence in kids means they can rely on their skills and strengths to deal with whatever comes their way. This is a good way to begin to explain what confidence is to your child. If you see that your child has low self-confidence, there are things you can do to give them a boost. These include praising them when they do something good. While you don’t want to praise every little step they make, it’s important to acknowledge when they’ve done something significant.
You can also help them focus on their strengths. Parents typically see where their children excel and where they may lag behind. To boost their self-confidence, you can help them notice their strengths while also helping them in the areas that stem from their weaknesses. You can also tell them that as they gain confidence, that little voice inside them that may tell them they can’t do something will begin to tell them they can do it. You can also tell your child that there are times when you battle with self-confidence issues and have that voice that tells you that you can’t do something. But, you gain the strength to learn that you can do something and you do it.
Humans develop soft skills through socialization, learning the values, attitudes, and actions through interactions with others. Because socialization and relationship-building are a critical part of young adolescents’ lives, parents form the foundation and school is a place that should continuously strive to incorporate soft skill development. By adding this important element to instructional plans and classroom expectations, educators help prepare students for success.