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The Skills You Should Focus On Building In Your Child During The ECQ May Surprise YouSoft skills like communication and empathy will help your child succeed in life.by Kate Borbon .
Even back when they were babies, most children likely started being taught how to say words, recite the alphabet, and count, and exposed to different colors, shapes, types of animals and more. As they grow older, they are encouraged to memorize their ABCs and 123s — knowledge that will serve them well for when they start going to school.
Something that some parents may be forgetting, however, is that kids also need to be equipped with the skills to interact with their peers, communicate with others, express their feelings, and more. Without these “soft skills,” a child will struggle to succeed in unfamiliar environments, like the classroom.
What are soft skills?
Soft skills refer to skills that allow people to navigate an environment, work with others, and perform well. Scary Mommy says that while hard skills are educational and technical knowledge, soft skills are the human aspect of work and are built through experiencing real-life challenges and watching other people’s examples. They are the building blocks of a person’s character.
While it’s true that children need hard skills, having soft skills is just as crucial because they will help kids succeed in life. They also need soft skills to know how to take care of their mental and emotional health and have successful relationships.
How to build soft skills in your child
According to Thrive Global, soft skills can’t be taught — at least not in the way that hard skills are taught by, say, having a child answer worksheets and teaching him how to use a computer. Moreover, soft skills can be difficult to measure; you can’t use exams to quantify a child’s ability to empathize or communicate with his peers.
The best way to build soft skills in your child is through actions. Here are some things you can try.
1. Prioritize screen-free time.
This can be hard, especially with the quarantine in place and parents struggling to find ways to keep their kids occupied. However, letting him pass the whole day watching TV or fiddling with a phone or tablet leads to him missing out on opportunities to play, which is a powerful tool in building soft skills.
Through independent play, kids develop skills like critical thinking and creativity. Playing with others teaches kids how to share, respect their peers’ boundaries, and cooperate. Meanwhile, pretend play lets kids learn how to communicate, problem-solve, and empathize.
2. Mind how you deal with tantrums.
Tantrums are one of those things that you can’t escape as a parent. But if there’s one thing we learned about tantrums, it’s that they often happen because kids don’t know of any other way to deal with big emotions.
Next time your kid has a tantrum, instead of yelling at him, take the time to sit him down and help him get through his feelings. Encourage him to be self-aware by asking him to talk about why he’s upset. Express empathy by acknowledging his emotions. Build his resilience by teaching him other ways to cope with strong feelings.
By listening intently to your child, you show him that you are ready and willing to engage with him. If your child understands this, he becomes more confident because he knows that you are paying attention to him. Listening is also a great way to encourage your child’s communication skills.
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