It’s never too early to help children start developing important employment skills that will help them to fly into future success down the track. There are many strategies parents can use to help children become more success-ready and employment-ready.
In countless small ways, parents can help even very young children lay the foundation for important employment skills. Each taste of success increases a child’s self-confidence and helps that child acquire the skills and outlook that lead to a happy future.
Here are some sought-after employment skills and how parents can help children acquire them…
The ability to remain calm, rational and reasonable in potentially stressful situations is an important employment skill.
With all of the best intentions in the world, many parents overprotect their children. Don’t. Resist the temptation to surround them with cotton wool. Unintentionally, this is preventing them from becoming more capable of coping with stress. So encourage your child to be the only person from his school who enrols in that holiday activity. Don’t talk your child out of trying for a place in a more advanced sporting team. Don’t subtly discourage your child from attempting a more adventurous sport or volunteering to lead a school activity. Even though all of these can potentially be a little stressful, or even result in a knockback, they can make your child stronger emotionally. It will be easier with every step and every attempt will help your child learn to deal with a little stress. And if your child isn’t chosen for that team or given a role in the school production, help her get back up and try again. Resilience grows from ‘failing’.
The ability to problem solve and take the initiative is another important employment skill.
Resist the temptation to solve all of your child’s problems. Ask your child to think of a number of ways to solve a particular problem. Help your child to work through the consequences of each possible course of action. This is great training for future situations where your child will have to make a decision without you there. When your child makes an unwise choice and is suffering a few bruises, don’t blame or surround him with cotton wool. Calmly talk about what could have been better choices and make it clear that everyone makes mistakes. This is an important lesson for life and future employment situations.
The ability to work well in a team…
Encourage your child to take part in team sports and other activities where teamwork is involved. All employers value good team players. Talk to your child about what makes a great team and what makes a great team member. Discuss loyalty, cooperation, reliability and doing your assigned part well for the good of the whole team. Praise your child when he puts in a good effort in any team situation.
A willingness and positive attitude to being a constant learner…
Most adults need to undertake some form of up-skilling or professional development as a routine aspect of their work. Make sure that your child knows about this and sees that you view this in a positive light. Talk about new skills you are developing or existing skills you are working to improve in your career. Speak positively about lifelong learning and all of the exciting knowledge and skills there are to acquire in life. You want your child to see learning not as a chore but as an exciting endeavour.
An openness to well-thought-out risk taking…
All parents dread the risk-taking teen years. Children who have experience with safe risk-taking, are less likely to be engaged in the thoughtless, high risk-taking teenage behaviour which is the stuff of parental nightmares. If your child wants to take up an adventure sport, discuss the importance of maintaining good safety equipment. If your child wants to play a vigorous sport such as skateboard riding or kick boxing, discuss the importance of wearing the mouth guard and other appropriate safety equipment to minimise possible injuries. But don’t try to deter your child from these activities or instill a fear of more adventurous activities. Children need to be open to challenges. They simply also need to be aware of minimising risks to personal safety.
The ability to bounce back when things don’t work out as expected…
If resilience could be weighed, it would be worth more than gold. Children will only develop resilience if they are allowed to fail, to fall, to not win, to not be chosen. It is important to encourage them to get right back up and to try again. Sometimes it may be blatantly obvious that a child simply doesn’t have the natural ability needed in a particular pursuit. A child who has little rhythm or coordination may never be chosen to dance in the school production of Sleeping Beauty. But always praise the willingness to give it a go! It’s also important for children to learn that people admire trying as much, if not more, than winning.
Yes, parents can help children begin to develop all of these important employment skills well before they even hit secondary school.
See article Another 6 Employment Skills for Future Success.