7 Life Skills Your Child Needs to Succeed

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When we were growing up, our parents encouraged us to study hard, earn good grades, and get into good schools. At the time, it was generally believed that a good education was virtually a passport to a successful professional life. But the times, they are a-changing. As the world grows ever smaller through advances in communication, transportation, and technology, the job market has become ever more competitive with students now being groomed to become global citizens. Indeed, a number of child education experts say that it would take more than a good education for a child to succeed later on in life.

In her talk at Mommy Mundo’s Preschool Fair 2016, Teacher Beni Ancheta-Veloso, co-owner of Explorations Preschool, says that there are seven essential life skills which children must learn and develop in order to thrive in the new century. Teacher Beni refers to those outlined by child education expert Ellen Galinsky in her groundbreaking book, Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs.

These skills will prepare children to thrive amidst the pressures of modern life, enabling them to focus on their goals and achieve their full potential as adults. What’s good about these skills, Teacher Beni says, is that you need not enroll your child in an expensive program or purchase costly materials in order to learn them. In fact, some parents may already be doing the activities suggested in the book. It’s just a matter of parents being more mindful of their objectives when engaging their children in specific activities.

These are the seven life skills which your child needs to succeed:

Schoolgirl researching online with the guidance of her teacher

Life Skill #1: The ability to focus The modern world is filled with many distractions. A child must know how to efficiently and effectively focus on the task at hand in order to achieve short-term and long-term goals. In order to focus, a child needs to pay attention, remember the rules, think flexibly, and exercise self-control.

Get your child to focus by… … letting him play games that require attention … encouraging him to play pretend and make pretend stories … reading books … encouraging him to play games with rules that have to be remembered … asking him to take on little projects like an ice candy stand … encouraging him to save up for a book or a game

Life Skill #2: The ability to take perspective More than figuring out what others think and feel, the ability to take perspective enables a cild to understand the intentions and motivations of others.

Get your child to gain perspective by… … teaching him appraisal skills … talking about feelings: yours and his … letting him feel known and understood … repeating back your child’s words or what you think your child is trying to communicate .. asking a question about a book he read or a movie he watched

Life Skill #3: The ability to communicate This is one skill that teacher and employers feel are most lacking today. The ability to communicate through reading, writing, and speaking goes beyond asking the who, what, where, and why questions. It’s also about determining what needs to be communicated to others, and be communicated effectively.

Get your child to communicate by… … creating an environment at home where words, reading, and listening are important … encouraging spontaneous conversations … encouraging your child to write his thoughts or keep a journal … giving your child access to different forms of media

Life Skill #4: The ability to make connections Connecting seemingly opposing concepts is at the core of creativity—and a person who can make these connections, who can see something new and daring out of the conventional, is more likely to succeed.

Get your child to make connections by… … letting him play sorting games … offering him different types of materials to work with … offering games that involve finding his way in spaces … giving him puzzles to solve … encouraging him to read mystery novels

Thoughtful girl reading a book and using her imagination

Life Skill #5: The ability to think critically The deluge of information calls for a mind that is able to think critically, to filter fact from faction, to distinguish between valid conclusions and hasty generalizations, and to differentiate between cause and effect.

Get your child to think critically by… … providing a variety of experiences: places, people, textures, books, sounds, objects … encouraging exploration … conducting experiments … encouraging him to ask questions

Life Skill #6: The ability to take on challenges A child who doesn’t shy away from challenges and who can effectively manage stress will do better in school and in life.

Get your child to take on challenges by… … focusing on a child’s attitude, effort, and problem-solving skills when giving compliments … helping him evaluate himself … praising his efforts, not his talents … cultivating in him a growth mindset … teaching him how to manage, cope, and rebound from stress

Life Skill #7: The ability to learn from decisions and experiences A child who sees the value of learning from what he has seen, read, and experienced would be better off in the world than one who just takes everything in stride without doing some introspective thinking or making future plans.

Get your child to do self-directed, engaged learning by… … helping him develop and work toward his goals … supporting exploration and questioning … encouraging appreciation and discovery of the environment and how things work … refraining from telling him what to think, but instead teaching him how to think