Soft Skills: 15 Key Skills to Teach Your Children

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Recently I was part of a search team recruiting a candidate for a new position. The person who was ultimately recommended for the position had outstanding soft skills. This process encouraged me to grow and practice these skills and incorporate them in our homeschool activities.

What are soft skills and why should you teach these skills to your children?

Soft skills include the ability to communicate and problem solve effectively within a team. People with strong soft skills demonstrate professionalism, leadership or potential to lead, and a positive attitude. Other soft skills examples include displaying a strong work ethic, being an active listener and having good organizational skills.

The 15 key skills below will support students in developing the soft skills they need to be successful in an ever-evolving job market.

  1. Innovation

This skill is one that allows students to exercise their creativity. Innovation allows students to discover new ways of doing things and to explore different ideas.

Younger students can learn to innovate by creating something new out of ordinary materials. Older students can be presented with a problem and encouraged to use innovation and critical thinking skills to determine possible solutions.

2. Technology

Most communication, work and interactions are performed through technology and computers in today’s world.

Developing and maintaining technology skills will help students get jobs that require a specific skill set. STEM activities provide a great foundation for students to explore technology and related skills.

3. Negotiation

Negotiation is a valuable skill that isn’t often discussed in traditional school settings. Having good negotiation skills can help your student in both their personal and professional endeavors.

Students who negotiate for what they want and need will learn how to reach healthy compromises, long lasting solutions and successful agreements.

4. Emotional regulation

Emotional regulation looks different for every child, teenager and adult. Children need strategies to help them regulate emotions that they will likely rely on throughout their adulthood.

Emotional regulation strategies will help students when they are faced with times of increased stress and pressure.

5. Ideation

This is an important skill in life for conflict resolution and creativity.

Sometimes it is difficult to engage the creativity after childhood, but practicing ideation helps instill “thinking outside the box” as a future job seeker.

The process of coming up with ideas leads to finding better solutions, critical thinking and exploring different points of view.

6. Stamina

Helping students build strong stamina in all areas of their lives will improve their well being and prevent longterm burnout.

Mental, emotional and physical stamina are all skills that will help when “the going gets tough.” Stamina is also referred to as “grit” and it sets aside those who are able to see a project through despite the obstacles along the way.

7. Honing your craft

There is always room for improvement and space to grow.

Continuously aiming to better yourself and honing your craft will only help in the long run.

Students should fully explore their interests and develop their talents to keep improving a specific skillset.

8. Critical thinking

Critical thinking can help your student in virtually every aspect of life.

Having strong critical thinking skills also plays a key role in leadership, conflict resolution, and decision-making. This skill is very valuable in professional scenarios and can be a deciding factor in the hiring process.

9. Process analysis

Process analysis is the ability to break down processes to determine what’s working and what’s not.

Asking young students “wh” questions about things they are working on or building is a great way to teach process analysis. Older students can be given projects or experiments to conduct that provide opportunities to practice process analysis.

10. Problem solving

This is a skill that your student will use in every aspect of their life. Everyone faces obstacles in their personal life and relationships.

Improving problem solving skills is an asset that will help your student grow in leadership and maintaining their overall well-being.

11. Adaptability

Life is always changing and being able to adapt to those changes easily and efficiently makes a large difference in success and happiness.

Adaptability is needed to embrace growth and find ways to cope when things do not go as planned. Leading by example when life hits you with adversity can be a great way to show your student or child this life skill.

12. Situational awareness

Teaching your student or child to be observant and aware of their surroundings is imperative. They need to be able to anticipate what may happen in different situations and be ready to respond.

13. Self-discipline

This skill is similar to motivation, but it comes from a more internal mindset. This is a skill that is difficult to teach others, but can be learned through setting and achieving goals.

Self-discipline will help them to students stay focused on their goals and becoming more independent.

14. Decision-making

Decision-making skills are important for students in their personal everyday lives. This skill is also important for their professional future and potential for leadership roles. Helping your student discover different techniques and processes to use for efficient and quality decision-making allows them to develop these skills.

15. Open mindedness

The ability and willingness to look at situations from other’s view is a skill that will help students grow and try new things that might challenge their own thinking. It’s an important step in personal growth and being able to communicate effectively with others who share different perspectives.

Soft skills are transferable and useful in many different situations of life aside from the job market. They are useful for life in general and will help your children in many different situations throughout their lives.

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