5 Skills to Help Guide Children Toward Success
Quite often, it feels like the world slipped off its axis. It's spinning a little too fast to grasp all the things we need to get done in a day, a week, a year, or even a lifetime. The demands many employers place on their employees usually exceeds what can be accomplished in the allotted time period. In addition, the basic societal attitude that people should give 110% at work pushes people to use up all the energy they stored for the day. As a result, many people feel exhausted and edgy by the time they get home to their families.
Some children grow up accustomed to only spending two to three waking hours a day in the same vicinity as their mom and/or dad. The lucky ones sit down to dinner with their parents and share some love through conversation, jokes, interesting or funny videos, or through some other means of communication. The not so lucky ones fend for themselves and go to their rooms while their exhausted parents relax in front of the t.v., computer, or phone screen before tackling household chores that need to get done. Most people understand. Nobody blames them. Nobody thinks they're "bad parents." After all, they work hard to provide their kids with every material thing they can, and that includes a roof over their heads and food.
However, children yearn for the world to stop spinning long enough for their parents to disconnect from it and reconnect with them. They need their parents to make growing their inner peace and stability a priority. The effort and energy required takes resourcefulness, which is the first of five lessons to teach and possibly learn with your children.
1. Teach Resourcefulness
When your world is off balance because everything is moving too quickly, put it on pause for a minute and evaluate what steps you can take to get it on track. Call a family meeting, make sure you have everyone's undivided attention and get them involved in the process. Talk to your spouse and children about the outcome you plan to achieve and how their involvement in the process will benefit everyone. They are some of your greatest resources. Let them know that.
Whenever you have the opportunity to have them help out, use it. At the same time, they learn to be resourceful also; therefore, be sure to discuss your goals and keep updating them on the actions you take to accomplish them.
A dry erase board or notebook would be a good resource to display all the steps and the results. Displaying minor accomplishments helps everyone see that your process works and may encourage them to become more involved in reaching the ultimate outcome.
While your goal may be to teach them to learn to use what they have on hand to complete an assignment, their goal may be to get the assignment done so they can move on to other things. Either way, they learn to be resourceful.
2. Teach Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
With more and more people becoming aware of the damaging and sometimes deadly effects of bullying, sexual assault, and underage drinking, kids are increasingly being held legally responsible for their actions. In addition, many children fear retaliation or ridicule when they are victims of crimes; therefore, they remain silent. Our duty to teach them how to think critically has never been more important, especially, with the dangers that lurk with internet predators, scammers, and online bullies.
Too often, children make bad choices due to misinformation, the lack of information, or not predetermining the effects their actions might have. Most two year olds go through a phase where they ask, "Why?" a hundred times a day. Sometimes parents minds are preoccupied with other thoughts and this constant plea for answers from their toddler becomes annoying. However, this may be the perfect time to start teaching your child to think critically. Short, honest answers satisfy them and encourage them to continue investigating when they want to know something.
As they grow older, their inquiries may become more difficult to answer which brings the perfect opportunity for parents to say, "let's go look that up" teaching the child ways to find the answers to their questions. Asking your child additional questions on the subject teaches your child to continue investigating.
3. Teach Children to Be Organized
Children who exercise organizational skills while adhering to routines typically experience less stress while also living healthier lifestyles. When things are where they should be, the time they save by not searching for something can be better applied to more important things, like eating breakfast, for example.
Many kids skip breakfast because they try to find this or that and before they know it, they have to run out the door to get to school on time. They may not get their homework done because they can't find some article they need to complete it. Like a puzzle, after we organize the outside pieces, the inside pieces fall into place more readily. In other words, when our physical world is organized, our inner health benefits.
Children as young as toddlers learn to separate their toys by size or type. When supplied with the tools they need to organize them and a little persistence on the parents part, kids get the job done. The sooner we teach our children to become organized, the more time we have to organize quality family time.
4. Show Children How to Lead Thoughtfully
Good leaders treat people with respect and consideration. They listen to the concerns of others and they work with them to find solutions. When they are in charge and they have to address to someone an issue that needs improvement, they, first, accentuate the positive contributions made by that person. For example, when a child brings home a report card with three B's and a D, a parent who leads well might say, "Wow, you got a B in this, that, and the other. That's awesome! I know that you have been working hard. Tonight, we'll go out for ice cream, and tomorrow we'll figure out what needs to be done to get that D up. You're really doing a great job."
Children learn to treat others the way they are treated; therefore, by treating them with respect, they learn valuable leadership skills. Confidence and self-esteem build up when children are given opportunities to lead. Teaching them to be considerate of the feelings of others will keep them from becoming cocky. However, be careful not to discourage a little attitude when the circumstances warrant it. Sometimes, some attitude helps protect people from being taken advantage of or being bullied. Pay attention to be sure attitude doesn't cross the line to bullying.
5. Teach Etiquette
Children exude thoughtfulness, reverence, and showmanship when they exhibit good etiquette. It shows that they value the people around them. When children extend their hand to shake when meeting someone new, it not only shows respect to that person but it also stimulates that person to respect the child.
Furthermore, when a child learns to look someone in the eye when they speak, it validates the time and effort the speaker puts in to enlighten or inform the child. Teaching your child to remove their cap when they enter somebody's home or when they sit down to dinner shows respect for the sanctity of their home, belongings, or meal.
In conclusion, when children learn these five skills at home, they are more inclined to be confident, kind, respectful, prepared, inventive, healthy, and well-rounded.