WHO’S READY FOR THE FU­TURE?

It’s no longer enough just to mem­o­rise an­swers to pass ex­ams. Kids in the dig­i­tal age need these life skills to suceed – here’s how you can help.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Kids in the dig­i­tal age need these life skills to suceed – here’s how you can help.

“Life skills” is a buzz­word that’s of­ten (over) used, but what does it mean when it comes to kids?

Vet­eran ed­u­ca­tor Pa­tri­cia Koh, who is chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Maple­bear chain of preschools, ex­plains: “In this fast-paced and ev­er­chang­ing world, it is no longer suf­fi­cient to teach your child to mem­o­rise an­swers just so to pass ex­am­i­na­tions.

“To pre­pare her for the fu­ture, it is also im­por­tant you raise her to be­come a re­spon­si­ble, re­spect­ful and valu­able global cit­i­zen.” Pa­tri­cia shows you how to give your lit­tle one a head start by de­vel­op­ing these life skills:

1 Cu­rios­ity

Your child nat­u­rally has lots of ques­tions about the world around her. En­cour­age her ea­ger­ness to learn and ex­plore from a young age. Guide her to search for the an­swers through ex­plor­ing, ex­per­i­ment­ing, and ask­ing fur­ther ques­tions to help your lit­tle one be­come an ac­tive learner.

2 Com­mu­ni­cat­ing clearly

Speak­ing up and ex­press­ing her feel­ings will help oth­ers bet­ter un­der­stand your child’s needs. She should also be taught to stand up for her­self or oth­ers by com­mu­ni­cat­ing clearly if the sit­u­a­tion arises.

This is use­ful as you will not be able to be there for your child all the time. Con­vey­ing her thoughts ef­fec­tively is also re­quired at school and is an as­set in the work­place.

3 Re­solv­ing dis­agree­ments am­i­ca­bly

It is es­sen­tial that chil­dren learn to build pos­i­tive re­la­tion­ships, re­solve con­flicts and set­tle dis­agree­ments am­i­ca­bly on their own.

Dis­agree­ments are in­evitable in life so a child must learn to re­spect dif­fer­ences in oth­ers and to man­age her emo­tions and be­hav­iours. She should pay more at­ten­tion to her own feel­ings and un­der­stand the ef­fect of words on oth­ers.

Equip her with tech­niques to man­age stress and anx­i­ety such as breath­ing, count­ing to 10, and fo­cus­ing on the prob­lem (not the per­son).

4 Con­fi­dence

Most chil­dren are con­fi­dent and have lit­tle fear of try­ing new things un­til grownups tell them they are not good enough. En­cour­age and nur­ture your child’s passions and tal­ents, and al­low her to ex­plore as safely pos­si­ble. You will be there to sup­port them.

5 Cre­ativ­ity

The fu­ture jobs avail­able for the next gen­er­a­tion re­quire them to think out of the box and come up with in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions to prob­lems. A cre­ative child will also be bet­ter at solv­ing prob­lems and be more adapt­able to change.

You can cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for messy play like paint­ing or sand cas­tle build­ing, as well as al­low your child the time and space to en­joy un­struc­tured and imag­i­na­tive play. By be­ing more en­cour­ag­ing of fail­ure, your lit­tle one will feel safe to take risks, learn from their mis­takes and be able to ex­press them­selves cre­atively.

6 Re­silience

Life doesn’t al­ways go as planned. And your child will have to un­der­stand and learn to cope with dis­ap­point­ments. For ex­am­ple, she ex­pected to spend the day at the park but it rained heav­ily the whole day.

Teach her to be able to ac­cept change of plans. En­cour­age her to plan ahead with al­ter­na­tives or take the op­por­tu­nity to re­mind her of the things that truly mat­ter, like spend­ing time with fam­ily wher­ever it may be.

7 Con­nec­tiv­ity

In a world where every­one is in­creas­ingly hooked to their smart de­vices, it is cru­cial to con­nect with your child as much as you can. Whether through play­time at the park, din­ner con­ver­sa­tions or bed­time sto­ries, you can help re­mind her to ap­pre­ci­ate na­ture and un­der­stand that she has a part to play in pro­tect­ing this won­der­ful planet we call home.

En­cour­age her to show com­pas­sion to­wards an­i­mals, plants, as well as oth­ers around her.

8 Pos­i­tiv­ity

Even adults can be coached to prac­tise pos­i­tive self­talk for bet­ter out­comes; chil­dren should be re­minded to stay pos­i­tive in the face of chal­lenges. Ex­plain to her that she will be able to come up with so­lu­tions more eas­ily if she stays fo­cused and be­lieve in her­self. Things do not al­ways go her way, but she can keep her spir­its up and per­se­vere.

9 Play­ing well with oth­ers

Recog­nis­ing the value of team­work is a life skill that can­not be over­looked. In our in­ter­con­nected and mul­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety, a child must learn to ac­cept oth­ers for their dif­fer­ences and be able to com­bine the strengths of a group to achieve a com­mon goal.

She can learn to be open to ideas and be more mind­ful of oth­ers’ thoughts and feel­ings. This also in­cul­cates em­pa­thy and she be­comes more tol­er­ant of dif­fer­ing opinions.

10 A love of read­ing and learn­ing

The more a child reads, the more she learns, picks up new skills and opens her mind to end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties and per­spec­tives. Her ea­ger­ness for knowl­edge is price­less so teach her the many ways to gather in­for­ma­tion and learn, not just from text­books.

Pa­tri­cia notes: “Re­mem­ber, her great­est role model is you. Your preschooler ob­serves how you be­have and re­act, and mim­ics what she sees.

“Hence it is es­sen­tial to be a mind­ful par­ent who is al­ways present for your child.”

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