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Many children (as well as adults) are unsure what soft skills are, and why they’re so important for growth. Here at MakerKids, we encourage children and adults to team up and grow together.
Soft skills are often referred to as “people skills” or “non-cognitive skills” – essentially, the skills that are difficult to directly measure. These skills are vital for growth, development, and future employment opportunities.
Below are four prime examples that you and your child can get into the habit of doing. While these skills may take a while to learn, the effects are long-term, helpful in many life skills and experiences. Let’s dive in!
1. Encourage Your Children
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People require attention, but more importantly, they crave encouragement. If your child hasn’t quite mastered a skill that they’ve been trying, it’s important for us as adults to congratulate them on progress they’ve made, as well as encourage them to keep going.
In a study called the Marshmallow Test, children were tested to see whether or not they could survive not eating a marshmallow as soon as the adults left the room. If they succeeded, they were given a bigger prize.
A lot of children caved and ate the marshmallow, but those who waited were encouraged to continue the path they were on: Give up small short-term gains for big long-term wins.
2. Demonstrate Social Skills
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Whether you teach your child how to properly shake someone’s hand or teach them to always say “please” and “thank you”, you’re teaching them social skills! Social skills are so important because, in the future, they’ll open doors to much bigger opportunities. Reading social cues is a language on its own. It can be subjective and not apparent. It’s best to expose your kids and yourself to a wide range of experiences.
If you teach your child proper people skills when they’re young, the lessons will stick with them for a lifetime. Increase people skills correlate to being more social and more confidence, especially when communicating with adverse situations or communicating with authority figures.
3. Acknowledge When They’re On Time
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There are man things children like, but one thing that children hate doing, is waking up in the morning when they have to go to school.
While your child may like school, they often don’t want to wake up at 7:30am to start their day after draining their battery the night before. If your child is awake, dressed and has eaten before you had to tell them anything, make sure you praise them.
These praises will show your child that they’re doing the right thing. Children (and adults) like knowing they’re on the right path.
4. Talk About Scenarios In TV Shows And Movies
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More often than not, your child’s favorite TV show and movie will have hidden tests throughout the movie.
For example, what would have happened if Rapunzel never let down her hair? How would that have affected her lifestyle?
Encourage your child to talk about what their favourite television or video game character did and tell you what they would have done differently. Visualizing different scenarios is also shown to increase creativity, openness and more openness to risk or new situations.
Everyone thinks differently, after all, and hearing what your child would do in a sticky situation will spark their imagination and help you understand who they’re becoming. It’s a very rewarding feeling hearing what your child would have done differently.
MakerKids encourages families to get together to practice these soft skills. In our programs, we take “Snack Chats.” During our Snack Chats, we touch on a soft skill and share stories and experiences with other students. Topics include: what happens when you make a mistake or what do you do if you have been griefed in Minecraft (like trolling but in Minecraft). If you’d like your child to branch out and practice these skills in real life, sign your child up for an after school program at MakerKids.
Not only will your child learn soft skills, they’ll learn how to code, how to be a team player, and they’ll learn about robotics! We hope to see you at MakerKids one day!