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Set For Success – 5 Foundational Skills Every Child Needs To Build A Successful Life

As a parent, one of your main concerns is to ensure your child has the skills they need to succeed in the world. This is particularly difficult when you consider the fact that many of the jobs today’s children will compete for as adults don’t even exist yet. 

While high school English tutors and after-school coding lessons can help your child get ahead, we live in a world that demands much more than that. It’s important to empower children with foundational skills that’ll help them successfully navigate the ever-changing global village we live in. 


  • People skills


People skills include communication, collaboration, teamwork, active listening, empathy, and perspective-taking. All of these are needed to play well with others. They’re also essential in a world where it’s essential to know how to read people. 

Toddlers can be taught to understand other people’s perspectives and can develop empathy from a remarkably young age if parents take an active role in developing it. 


  • Curiosity


Spend any length of time with a six-year-old and you’ll know that “why” is one of their favorite words. This is the age at which their sense of exploration and curiosity flourishes. 

Fueled by technology, the information age has put so many answers at our collective fingertips. This is why the ability to ask the right questions has become more valuable than the ability to offer answers. 

As Albert Einstein put it, “the important thing is to never stop questioning.” It’s imperative to encourage our children’s natural sense of wonder, so they continue to see the world as a question mark to explore. 


  • Grit


Grit is all about will power and determination. It’s evident in people who don’t shy away from hard work and who stick with projects until they’re complete. At the heart of will, is motivation.

You have extrinsic motivation, which involves reward and punishment, and intrinsic motivation, which is fueled by creativity and an ability to think outside the box. Teach your kids how to harness both of these, and you’ll be setting them up for success. 


  • Flexibility


In this rapidly changing world that requires constant adaptation, flexibility is vital. In fact, Silicon Valley’s unofficial motto is “fail early, fail often, and fail forward.”

Flexibility is all about learning from and overcoming failure. But, we live in a world where successes are celebrated and failures are feared. To raise resilient children, it’s important to also celebrate their ability to brush themselves off and keep going after a fall. 


  • Innovation


Creativity is what gives us the ability to see the world, not as it is but as it could be. Society rewards those who can imagine the world they want to live in, and then create it. Young children excel at this – from make-believe and superheroes to imaginary friends and fanciful stories. Kids really are some of the most imaginative humans around.


In our efforts to teach our children how we see the world, we run the risk of convincing them that there’s only one “right” way to see or do things. 

It’s important to ask ourselves, as development psychologist Jean Piaget once did, “are we forming children capable of learning only that which is already known? Or should we try to develop creative and innovative minds capable of discovering throughout life?” 

To set your children up for success, you must help them cultivate a sense of purpose and compassion, instead of pressuring them with unattainable expectations. By teaching them these skills and mindsets early, we can be in a better position to give our children access to a world of possibilities. 

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