How Developing Soft Skills in Children Can Combat Aggression
Published on 02.03.2021
Learn how developing soft skills in children can combat aggression.
A friend once shared with me an incident in the grocery store involving her, her three-year-old, and a pack of Oreos. What started as a simple “no” turned into a one-on-one brawl between her and her daughter.
The three year old sprawled out on the dirty tile, throwing anything within reach. As my friend came to pull her away, her daughter even started hitting and slapping her. Passerbys starred, mortified for the mother. It was clear her daughter wanted the Oreos but was incapable of expressing frustration at the word “no” other than throwing a tantrum.
According to a National Institute of Mental Health funded study called, “Aggressive Children and Effective Communication,” developing soft skills in children significantly lowers aggressive behavior tendencies as well as creates successful, happy adults. One way of doing this is by enrolling your child in kids classes, such as public speaking classes for kids.
Furthermore, a study called, “The Effects of Focused Stimulation for Promoting Vocabulary in Young Children with Delays: A Pilot Study,” claims that the more mature a child’s vocabulary becomes, the less inclined they will be to physically aggressive behavior.
Practicing activities and workshops at-home is essential for developing soft skills in children and promoting a child’s communication growth and development. Even if children are working towards communication skills by enrolling in kids classes which push them towards success and happiness, if this growth is not encouraged in the home, progress will be stunted.
Since children are more inclined to mimic what they see, parents need to constantly practice proper communication in the home. Displaying empathy, thoughtfulness, and coherent speech will encourage their children to follow suit.
Guess the Object
There are many games children can play to not only have fun with the family, but also encourage communication skills along the way. “Guess the Object” is a fun game which promotes using descriptive words and expressing thoughts and feelings.
Take an empty box with a lid, a shoe box or slightly bigger works well, and cut hand sized holes on either side. Now put an object inside the box, such as a loaf of bread or a stuffed animal. Without peeking, have the child put their hands in the box and verbally communicate what they are feeling, the shape and texture of the object, and guess as to what it might be.
This allows the child to correlate their thoughts and feelings into words that can be understood by those around them.
Picture Storytelling is another fun and interactive game to play with your child. Give them around ten pictures to study and analyze. After some time, have them formulate a story based on what they see in the pictures. This is a great way for children to practice verbalizing their experiences and observations.
By putting the pictures in order of their story, and then verbalizing this to their audience, they are practicing communication and creativity. Furthermore, by explaining their story out-loud, they are able to assess whether their audience is following along or if more detail is needed for the full effect. This encourages critical thinking in the way they translate the pictures into a comprehensible story.
Guess the Word
Building a strong vocabulary is a great way to reduce aggressive behavior in children while building communication skills. Luckily, there are many fun games to practice vocabulary with your child. One of the most popular is called “Guess the Word.”
Write down a few vocab words they might have learned recently. Then, everyone playing grabs a word at random and attaches it to their forehead without looking. Finally, everyone has to ask questions to try and figure out what word they are, such as “am I a verb,” “am I descriptive,” or “can I fit in a breadbox?”
The more vocabulary a child has access to, the less likely they will be to perform physical aggression. Without a means to communicate their emotions, children become frustrated and even anxious. Studies show the more mature a child’s vocabulary base is, the better they are at articulating themselves and the risk of aggression is far lowered.
Anthony Robbins once said, “The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.” It is essential children learn these skills at a young age.
If parents can begin developing soft skills in their children — skills like communication and public speaking — early on, your kids will be on the path towards success and happiness throughout their lives. Furthermore, if these skills are not harnessed at a young age, children will have a much harder time developing them later on.
Aggressive behavior lowers the time and ability to learn in the classroom and grow at home. Luckily for most children, aggression can often be attributed to underdeveloped communication skills.
Children want to express their thoughts and feelings with parents, teachers, and students, but become frustrated when they lack the skills to do so. This leads to communicating the only way they know how, physically.
Luckily, programs like Winning Feathers make overcoming these obstacles easy and fun. Not only will their communication skills soar, but the abilities learnt through the program will lead to successful, happy adults.
By Alison Hartzler
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