While children are still young, many parents don’t bother thinking about their future jobs. However, they’ll spend the majority of their life in one career or another. You can encourage your children to develop specific skills that will make them competitive on the job market in future. Let’s list 7 of those career skills.
1. Negotiation Skills
Your kids already negotiate with you. When you’re shopping for groceries, they always find something they need right now. It’s usually something that’s not good for them, such as gummy bears or soda. You say no.
In the ideal situation, your kids would understand and the grocery shopping would continue effortlessly. In the usual situation, that’s not how it happens. Some kids will cry. Others will scream really, really bad. Some will take this quietly, but they will be sad for the rest of the evening.
Some kids, however, will explain why they want and need the gummy bears. “But mom, we haven’t bought these for years. I just want to remember what they taste like.” At this point, you have to give them credit, right?
You should support such expression. Whenever they want to watch cartoons, get something from the store, or require a new bike, ask them why? That simple question triggers communication. When they have good arguments, it doesn’t mean you have to buy them the stuff they want. You’re the parent; you’re still the authority. You’ll just have to negotiate, too.
Are you wondering why negotiation skills are important in their future world of work? They may have to negotiate their salary. From there on, they will negotiate better work conditions and possibly some bonuses. They will have to negotiate when they want a raise or a promotion. Their professional growth practically depends on these career skills.
2. Critical Thinking and Problem-solving Skills
These career skills are crucial for developing not only intellectual, but emotional intelligence, too. Kids are curious by nature. They ask questions and they want to have all the answers. Encourage them to ask the right questions. You can achieve that through conversations.
When your kid wants to know about the stars, for example, ask them, “What do you think? How far away are they? What color are they?” They won’t have the answers. However, make them think before you provide a direct answer for them.
Teach them something new every single day. When you go through that “daily lesson,” invite kids to ask some questions. Insist on questions to encourage the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
3. Showing Initiative
Anne Richards, a mom and career expert at Careers Booster, shares an interesting experience: “I never allow my kids to get bored. Kids should never get bored! When I see them doing nothing, I ask what games they’d like to play. This was the thing my son suggested last time, ‘Let’s play magicians.’ I asked, ‘can you do magic?’ He said, ‘I’ll just take a wooden stick, I’ll make a hole and I’ll put a battery in it.’ I’m always impressed by the initiative these kids show!”
Entrepreneurship, as a concept, is practically based on initiative. Successful people are never passive. They are innovators and “doers.” Trigger that mindset in your children through the games you play together!
4. Communication Skills
Success at work is not achieved in isolation. No matter what your kids decide to become in future, they will have to collaborate and communicate with other people. Their communication skills are essential to their career.
You can help them develop communication skills in simple ways:
- Have conversations. Listen to them. Respond carefully to their arguments and teach them how to listen.
- Teach your children to write. Written communication is just as important as oral communication. Your kids will love writing short stories about their favorite action heroes. Use that opportunity to teach them how to express themselves well in written.
Adults have to adjust to different situations. Sometimes they have to accept a job that doesn’t pay much, just because they see potential in it. Sometimes they have to adjust to a work space with negative energy. Sometimes they have to collaborate or at least communicate with arrogant people. Hey; you’re an adult, right? You’re aware of the fact that sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.
Flexibility is an ability to adapt to a specific situation or an unexpected challenge. Set such sudden challenges for your kids. What will they do if they don’t have access to the tablet or TV for an entire day? They will have to adjust and do something else with their time.
Maybe your kids are not born leaders. Maybe they are introverted and don’t like taking initiative. Guess what: leaders are not born—they are made. The leadership capacity can be developed by building specific skills, such as staying passionate about a goal and sharing the enthusiasm with everyone around.
Leadership is all about fairness, honesty, passion, correct judgment, and perfect communication skills. You can help your kids to develop all these career skills, and they will be on their way to realizing their leadership potential.
7. Emotional Intelligence
You’d be surprised to know how important emotional intelligence is at the work space. This soft skill helps us deal with criticism. It helps us understand other people’s point of view and expose our arguments without hurting anyone. It also helps us develop strong interpersonal relationships at the workplace.
Most important of all, emotional intelligence has to be developed at an early stage of childhood. You should help your kids to recognize their own emotions, but other people’s emotions, too. Talk about your feelings with them. Encourage them to be compassionate with other people, but animals as well. When they start developing proper emotional connections, you’ll know they are on a good way to becoming good people and professionals.
So many skills to develop… where will you even start? Well, that’s the fun part: you have plenty of time. Although it seems that kids are growing up super fast, you still share precious moments with them on a daily basis. Use those moments well; teach them some skills they will use in future.
What career skills do you think are important for your kids to learn?
Eva Wislow is a career coach and loving mother from Pittsburgh. She is on a mission to help people find their true calling. Eva finds her inspiration in writing at AssignYourWriter and peace of mind through yoga. Connect with Eva on Twitter.
Bonnie, what a great list of skills! Every one of them is important.
Over the past few decades, we as parents have done a great job on so many areas. I often meet kids whose social and emotional intelligence blows me away!
One area we have actually slid the wrong way on, is narcissism. Self-confidence and self-worth are important attributes for our children to have, so we know we have to reinforce these attitudes. But we have to balance these attitudes with confidence in others, and value of others. Narcissism results in seriously flawed behaviors, such as bullying, and sexual predation. These deplorable behaviors harm acquaintances, spouses and workmates everywhere, and ultimately destroy the narcissistic person.
Focusing on positive attributes is a great start on combating narcissism and other socially undesirable patterns, but it is also necessary to recognize and address the undesirable behaviors directly. While we keep the list of skills we want to develop in our children, we might also develop a list of attributes we need to quash. Failing to do so, we can end up being the nicest and kindest parents in the world, while our kids turn out to be the worst plugs in the neighborhood.