Young people face unique challenges in a complex world that no one could’ve imagined decades ago. While children need to solve their problems, read complicated tasks and solve math problems, they need essential life skills to help them carry on with their everyday tasks. According to research by top universities like Stanford, Harvard, and Princeton, children with a strong foundation of life skills are resilient, motivated, confident, and successful.
Karen Swanson, principal of Howar Middle School, says life skills encompass cognitive, emotional, and social development. Swanson’s dedication and involvement in education extend well past the school doors, and she contributes to some of the best students in the city. She adds that no textbooks teach life skills, which makes it crucial for parents to impart these life skills to their children.
Self-esteem is a foundational life skill that reflects how we value ourselves and our worth to family and friends. According to Karen Swanson, how your child sees themselves is more crucial than how the world sees them. Children with high self-esteem often have a positive opinion of themselves which builds confidence in whatever they do. By reinforcing high self-esteem, your child will be more optimistic about taking on challenges that help them grow academically and personally. As adults, they won’t be afraid to take risks, get past failure, welcome challenges and work on weaknesses.
Communication is vital in every aspect of life. Effective communication is quite different from being able to express yourself. Children who communicate effectively can motivate people, lead an organization, and understand others more. Karen Swanson recommends developing a habit of listening to your children without interrupting them. Check how they explain things to you, their understanding of the world, the types of questions they ask, and their body language.
The complex world we’re living in requires that every child have sharp critical thinking skills. This life skill is vital in every aspect of a child’s life as it plays a role in decision-making, risk-taking, problem-solving, and time management. Your child will need to analyze information and make decisions based on their findings. To sharpen your child’s critical thinking skills, Karen suggests engaging them in games that involve role-playing, puzzles, and outside physical games like hide-and-seek.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back and adapt to difficult circumstances or thrive despite the changes and challenges life throws at you. As a parent, the last thing you want is to see your child struggle from one challenge to another. The best thing you can do for them is to help them develop resilience by teaching them to remain calm in the face of challenges, complete tasks no matter how difficult they’re, and show interest in learning new things. This is made possible by positive thinking. Helping your child eliminate negative thoughts and emotions can prepare them for positive habits.
While it’s critical for a child to have high self-esteem, know their value, and be self-aware, it doesn’t mean they should be self-centered, Karen Swanson explains. It’s pretty essential that parents remind their children that just as they are unique, so are others. This is the best way to lay the foundation of empathy and respect. According to Karen, children with empathy learn to think about the feelings and needs of their parents, friends, siblings, and the people around them. They also understand better the importance of treating plant life and animal life with care.