Soft Skills for Kids: Opening Doors and Expanding Horizons

Published on 03.23.2021

road stretching to the horizon

Learn how soft skills for kids can opening doors and expand a child’s horizons.

What comes to mind when you think about influential figures like political leaders, celebrities, even internet stars? 

Think about Elijah Cummings, Robert Downey Jr., PewDiePie, or any person with a degree of influence over others. Most of them know how to give a good speech, can bring interest and power to an idea, and can easily work a room.  Most of them possess the soft skills needed to hold such empowering positions. 

The need for children to develop soft skills is crucial in today’s climate, and yet seem under-valued in America’s education system. 

Teaching children important soft skills like communication, teamwork, and public speaking creates a foundation for them to build up later in life, sets them apart from other applicants, opens doors for leadership opportunities, and encourages mental health and wel-being. 

Building a Foundation

Soft skills are essential. Not only do they set you apart from peers and other applicants with similar qualifications, but they promote leadership and help curb anxiety.

Many adults wish they had begun building these skills at a young age. Instead, they struggle to redefine their social cues later in life while having to set aside destructive habits like self-consciousness, nervous ticks, or avoiding eye contact.

Soft skills shine brightly through those who regularly use them. It’s pretty clear  who has been practicing these skills from a young age and those who have not. When children are given the opportunity to begin implementing these skills, like active listening, teamwork, and problem-solving, they create a solid foundation to build upon throughout their lives. 

Sets You Apart From Applicants

When employers look for potential new hires to bring onto their team, most of the time all they have in front of them are stacks of resumes to sort through. This is where hard skills and qualifications are essential; applicants must meet the standard requirements for the job in order to be considered for the interview.

However, once that interview is set, all you have is a group of applicants with near identical qualifications all going for the same position. Once you’re face-to-face with a potential employer, there’s only one thing that sets you apart: your soft skills. 

According to a 2016 study, communication is the number one skill employers look for in new applicants. Communication is a skill that must be learnt over a period of time and through trials and tribulation.

One way to teach communication to your children is to practice discussion and encourage them to do so with their peers and teachers. This helps your child learn to engage with others in an appropriate manner as well as teach them how to evaluate the reactions and temperaments of their listeners. 

Reading is another great way to encourage communication. Not only does it build comprehension skills, but by learning the art of storytelling, kids can practice telling their own stories, which is highly beneficial in implementing communication skills. 

Leadership

The components of a great leader have been discussed and debated for centuries. 

According to author John C. Maxwell, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” 

In his 2006 study, “What Makes a Leader,” Daniel Goleman knows soft skills like emotional intelligence are crucial for a business leader to thrive. Goleman explains that while the leader of a tech company of course needs the technical skills involved in the business, without the interpersonal skills to match, her success rate significantly decreases.

According to the Global Human Capital Trends of 2016, building relationships, multitasking, and working alongside a diverse group of individuals are three of the top skills required by today’s leaders. 

Soft skills are what separates the boss from the leader. Knowing how something should be done is one thing, but showing how something should be done is another. A great leader is able to effectively communicate with their team, actively listen to their concerns and ideas, and have the emotional intelligence to make the best decisions.  

Mental Health

Mental health is a key component of success. Stress and anxiety play a major part in a person’s well-being and therefore needs to be well-maintained.

Soft skills go hand-in-hand with mental health. Understanding how to communicate with others not only makes them feel more comfortable, but you will feel more comfortable interacting with various groups and individuals.

Self-awareness, communication, emotional intelligence, team work, and decision making, are essential in our day-to-day lives that make common-place interactions easier. Soft skills allow our interactions to be focused on the individual in a supportive environment. They also help us solve problems with ease and stay calm under pressure. 

All of these skills are keys to success and encourage opportunities to become readily available.

Soft Skills for Kids: Opening Doors and Expanding Horizons

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