Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Top Six Skills Your Child Needs!

As parents, we all imagine the day when our children become self-sufficient and enter the world of work! In this competitive economy however, how can we help our children become attractive candidates for those jobs that are sometimes few and far between?  These are some of the top 21st Century "soft" skills that employers value in workers. Please read on to see if your kids have them and how you can support them at home!

1)  Communication -  Part of being an effective employee is to have excellent communication skills so that nothing is lost in translation and you are a confident representative of the organization.  Can your child read, write and speak well?  There is a reason that teachers commonly assign at least twenty minutes of reading as homework.  Reading creates an expanded vocabulary and exposes the mind to new ideas. It also makes connections to prior knowledge and helps students become better writers. Nowadays, many class assignments include a speaking component as part of a project as well. In addition, being able to take constructive criticism and give valuable insight so that the department or company moves forward is also highly desirable.

How to help at home:  Find out what your child is studying in class and ask them open-ended questions about it so they can speak to you.  Read what they are reading and have discussion time. Look over their writing assignments, many English assignments ask students to persuade the reader by including evidence and defending their argument. Ask them to back up their statements with questions like, "What led you to that conclusion?" and "Give me some examples."

2) Collaboration - Basically, this is the "Does Your Child Play Well With Others?" idea. More and more modern companies are mobile, international, and modular requiring employees to interact and work with each other more than ever. The brick and mortar office may become a thing of the past as technology allows employees to collaborate without being in the same room or same country for that matter.

How to help at home:  Teach your child what it means to be an active contributor. Assign them a job, chore, or another responsibility at home.  Have them help you cook and reflect on how working together helps put on an awesome meal.  Work on puzzles together or the latest LEGO building project so they can see a finished product made out of everyone's efforts. Teach them to share, take turns, and make sure everyone is included.

3) Leadership - Employers want people who can be courageous, be role models, problem solvers, and motivators.

How to help at home -  Don't worry too much about what you say, because kids don't always listen. Worry about what you do however, because kids are always watching. Take every opportunity to be a model citizen to your children from how you treat your spouse, to how you take care of the elderly to how you balance work and home life. Disney and Pixar movies are the best to watch and discuss as a family.  So many themes around leadership can be discussed from movies like "The Good Dinosaur", "Sugar Rush", "Finding Nemo",  and "Wall-E" to name a few.

4) Work Ethic - Employers wants employees that are responsible, dedicated, loyal, and dependable. Those who have a strong work ethic are usually also honest and selfless.

How to help at home:  When opportunities arise to discuss these words, take them and model them for your children.  Movies like "Rocky", "McFarland USA" and "Rudy" are all good examples of people who had very strong work ethics.  In addition, this link is a somewhat shocking collection of photos of children from other countries that really put education in perspective http://www.boredpanda.com/dangerous-journey-to-school/.  Ask your children what they think of these students from around the world who make this kind of journey just to go to school.

5) Critical Thinking - Employers want people who can see the big picture, anticipate obstacles and plan for them.  They want people who can find multiple ways to get to the desired result.

How to help at home: Encourage your children to see what people are doing all around the world to make a difference. What better examples of critical thinkers than the CNN 2015 Heroes: http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/11/world/gallery/cnn-heroes-2015/. They identified a problem and came up with a solution.

6) Self Management - Employers want people who can work without much supervision needed. This entails earning trust and respect, two core values that kids learn from those who model them.

How to help at home: The key to self management is knowing how to ask the right questions so that directions are completely understood and expectations are met.  Teach your children to ask clarifying questions or to have instructions repeated so they know exactly what is expected.  Teach your children how to manage their time using a planner of some sort so that deadlines are met. Teach your children what "quality" work means by describing or showing them prime examples of what the task should look like when completed.  Teach your children how to ask for feedback often to see if they are on the right track.

Now you know what skills employers value in their workers and how you can help at home as parents! Have a suggestion, please enter a comment below! Like this article? Please share! Thanks for reading!
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