21st Century Skills Your Child Needs To Succeed

Parents and teachers all over the world ask the same question: What skills will our children need to succeed in the 21st century? It is commonly agreed that Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic are an integral part of this list. Then the questions arise: What other skills are key to future success? And how can we equip our children with those skills?

Every parent and quite honestly any caring and responsible adult who cares about our children’s future needs would like to know this list of other skills most valued in today’s complex and rapidly changing world.  

Some notable skills that are on every list include social and creative skills like curiosity, communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking along with grit, leadership and adaptability. It is these other key skills that are gaining prominence in playrooms, classrooms, and board rooms around the world.

Based on the science of brain development in early childhood we now know that these key skills can be developed far earlier than most people realize. 85% of brain growth occurs by age 3 and up to a million new neural connections form per second during childhood. It is during the first five years that we have the unique opportunity to intentionally mould babies’ brains and to equip them with the tools for success. 

Babies dont just learn what they need to know all on their own. Unlocking childrens early learning potential is deeply dependent on social interactions which explains why a lot of talking, cooing, singing, playing, and reading books to babies is so important since day one of a child’s life.

These are the skills every parent should strive to teach their children for future success:

1. Self-Discipline 

Children who learn self-discipline are better equipped to face life’s challenges, make healthy choices and manage stress even when you are not around. Those who never learn self-discipline tend to form unhealthy habits later on in life. Things such as  managing academics, employment, household responsibilities all require one to have self discipline.

A decent level of self discipline is required to reach one’s goals. Kids shouldn’t be content wherever they are but rather always strive to move to the next stage or level of achievement or knowledge in the field that interests them. Self-discipline teaches a child how to plan, and manage their time to accomplish various goals. 

2. Independence

Children are elated when they accomplish things on their own. It’s through Independence that kids better their skills, develop their personality, make decisions and learn the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong. 

Being self sufficient is a vital lesson that kids should learn from their parents. Every child at some point will have to flee the nest and spread their wings. By that time they should be able to rely on and do things on their own. Independence comes in different forms: there is intellectual independence where one has to think for themselves even if what they want is not in line with what others want.  Then there is emotional Independence which means you don’t need other people’s approval or extra attention, and not giving in to peer pressure. Tangible Independence is how to take care of oneself financially and physically in the present as well as the future. Another importance of Independence is it enhances a child’s self-esteem. 

3. Be Curious And Think Critically 

Parents should always try to promote an active and curious mind. Kids should be taught how to examine themselves and the world around them . they should be given room to wander and ask questions. The ability to examine oneself and analyze things critically is essential to becoming a fully grown adult.  

Curiosity does a lot of good to kids. Their hobbies and interests should be acknowledged and parents should do their best to encourage them and be a part of their interests. Children should be exposed to new ideas and experiences whenever they present themselves. Children have the ability to grasp concepts really well but it’s also true that children don’t actually develop the ability to think critically until well into their teens. So it’s natural to wonder how kids can be taught critical thinking skills from a young age. The foundations for critical thinking and analysis have to be formed by cultivating a mindset in which children are able to develop as they mature and it’s by using these skills that they’re able to approach harder ideas in topics once they’re in their late teens.

4. Value Yourself

Parents should teach their kids about self-worth, self-respect, and having a positive self-image. These are all fundamental values that contribute to a child’s happiness and success. Children have to know that they should be treated with a certain level of respect that every human being is entitled to. It’s not just about self-confidence but also teaching them to have a sense of pride, self-respect, and belief in themselves. A child who feels good and positive about themselves and what they can do will feel capable of handling situations both at home and in the outside world .

Speaking to your child in a way that develops his or her self-confidence is also important. Praising your child for doing things allows them to know their hard work and effort has been recognized and appreciated, one’s individual achievements are of value and that the things they accomplished are valued by siblings and parents. It is therefore important for parents to continuously remind kids to improve themselves constantly in whichever path they choose in life.

5. Treat Other People With Respect

Parents are tasked with helping their children develop social skills and to show them how to interact with people in a polite manner and how to treat others with respect.   

 Children should understand that every human being has woth and should be treated in the manner in which they themselves would want to be treated. They should be taught that making fun of a classmate for example isn’t right and that everyone should be treated the same.

They should also be taught empathy as it relates to how they interact with others. They should know how to socialize and make friends as these are critical skill they will require later in life. 

6. Express Yourself Freely

When it comes to self expression kids should be allowed to present themselves in a way they feel comfortable. Self-expression is a human imperative and encouraging your child and enabling them to do so in healthy constructive ways is a vital lesson.  Forcing children to  conform has been observed to result in lower self-esteem and unhappiness.  

Learning to express themselves and control emotion is crucial for young children. They need to know that it’s normal to experience certain emotions and they are entitled to express their emotions in a particular way. They should be allowed to express happiness, excitement, laughter and all those other positive emotions but at the same time learn to control their feelings of fear, anger, rage, and jealousy. Their feelings matter and shouldn’t be undermined.  Encouraging your children to express themselves will help to build their independence, self-confidence and their creativity.

7. Good Manners

Kids do and say things that they hear and see. Therefore it’s crucial for parents to be aware of their own activities and conduct around their children. Play dates, gatherings, trips to the grocery store or visits to the park are great examples of occasions when good manners can be instilled in kids. These habits stick and become a part of their lives as they become teenagers and adults. 

Children should learn from a young age how to behave the right way. Good manners help shape your kids to be the upright and responsible people you want them to be.  Phrases like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ go a long way when it comes to developing a child’s character.  

8. Teach Children How To Face Life’s Challenges And Focus On The Bright Side

Teach your kids that life isn’t about fun all the time. Everyone has to put in the hard work in order to get somewhere. They should know that life is a mix of both good and bad experiences, but to always focus on the positive side of life. They should be encouraged to be positive and optimistic in any situation. Parents can teach by example how to deal with a situation that has gone wrong. Instead of becoming negative or blaming others, parents can show kids how to come to terms with the disappointment, how to learn a lesson from what happened, and how to look for solutions to improve the situation.