How to Develop Soft Skills for Kids [+12 Examples]
As a parent, you want the best for your kids. You want them to be successful in life. And you know that starts with teaching them the right skills. Well, then you’re going to want to make sure they’re developing a strong set of soft skills! Why?
In this blog post, we’re going to tell you as we discuss:
- Why soft skills are important to learn during early childhood
- 12 of the most essential soft skills for kids
- Ideas on how you can help your kids develop those essential skills
- Why learning a foreign language is a great way for kids to build and improve soft skills
Let’s get started!
What Are Soft Skills?
Soft skills are the personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively with others. They are also sometimes referred to as people skills, social skills, or interpersonal skills.
In contrast to technical or hard skills, soft skills can sometimes be difficult to quantify. They are often associated with a person’s personality, and they can be harder to teach than hard skills.
What Age Do You Start Learning Soft Skills?
According to research on child development, the best time to learn soft skills is during early childhood, when social interactions are more frequent through play and group learning. It’s also when children are most adept and open to learning new things.
Why Are Soft Skills Important?
Soft skills help children communicate effectively, resolve conflicts, and understand and empathize with others. They are essential for both personal and professional success.
Soft skills also make it easier to learn and acquire technical skills, like coding, mathematics, and the physical sciences. Why? Because truly mastering and applying technical skills often requires soft skills like problem-solving, grit, and collaboration.
While certain soft skills come easy to some kids, others kids need a little more help to develop them. Which ones should you teach your children? Let’s take a look!
12 Essential Soft Skills for Kids
Here are 12 of the most essential soft skills for children and tips on how to help your child better develop each one.
#1 Communication Skills
Communication involves both verbal and nonverbal cues, such as body language and tone of voice. It’s the ability to share information with others clearly and effectively. And, whether it be in the classroom, on the playground, or at home, your child must know how to effectively express their needs and wants as well as to listen to and understand others.
To help your child develop communication skills, encourage them to express their thoughts and feelings openly. Model good communication yourself by being an active listener and using clear and concise language.
Being able to work well with others is another important soft skill for kids. When children know how to cooperate and collaborate with their peers, they have a better chance of succeeding both academically and socially.
There are a few ways you can help your child develop teamwork skills. One is to encourage them to participate in group activities, such as sports or clubs. You can also model teamwork yourself by working on projects with your child or involving them in family chores.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It’s an important soft skill for kids to learn because it can help them relate to and better understand the people around them.
Teaching your children empathy can be as simple as talking to them about their feelings and the feelings of others. You can also encourage them to put themselves in someone else’s shoes by asking them how they would feel in various situations.
Reading books and watching movies together can also be a great way to teach empathy, as you can discuss the characters’ feelings and experiences afterward.
#4 Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is the ability to analyze a situation and make judgments based on logical reasoning. It’s an important soft skill for kids to learn because it helps them think independently and make sound decisions.
There are several ways you can encourage critical thinking in your child. Asking them questions that don’t have simple yes or no answers is a good way to get them to think critically.
Encouraging your child to question everything they hear and read, and not take anything at face value, is another great way to foster critical thinking skills. Depending on their age, you can also help them learn how to research information for themselves so that they can form their own opinions on the world around them.
Your child will encounter a multitude of problems daily. Do they know the best way to approach solving them? By teaching them how to identify and solve problems, you’re giving them valuable skills that will serve them well throughout their life.
To help your child improve their problem-solving skills, encourage them to brainstorm solutions to problems they encounter, and praise them when they come up with a creative solution. Activities like puzzles and brainteasers are also great for teaching problem-solving skills.
Leaders inspire and motivate others to achieve a common goal – both valuable abilities in academic, social, and professional settings.
If your child is a natural leader, encourage them to take on leadership roles in their school or community. Help them learn how to develop a vision for what they want to achieve, and then create a plan to turn that vision into reality. Also praise them when they show qualities of a good leader, such as being fair, responsible, and respectful.
If your child tends to shy away from leadership roles, that’s okay, too. There are still plenty of opportunities for them to practice their leadership skills. For example, they can be a leader in their own household by helping with chores or taking care of younger siblings.
#7 Work Ethic
It’s important to teach kids the value of hard work and a good work ethic. This is one soft skill that will benefit them throughout their entire lives because it applies to any and every situation.
There are a few ways to instill a strong work ethic in kids. One is to lead by example – let them see you working hard and explain to them why it’s important. You can also give them age-appropriate chores to do around the house and praise them when they do a good job. Finally, you can instill a sense of pride in their work by teaching them to always do their best and strive for excellence.
#8 Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed with effort and practice. This is in contrast to a fixed mindset, which is the belief that intelligence and abilities are static and cannot be changed.
Teaching kids a growth mindset has many benefits, including better academic performance, higher self-esteem, and more resilience in the face of setbacks. It also helps them to see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, rather than as a personal deficiency.
There are many ways you can foster a growth mindset in your child. You can praise them for their effort and persistence, rather than their intelligence or natural ability. You can also encourage them to try new things, even if they are afraid of failing.
#9 Cultural Awareness
In our increasingly connected world, it’s more important than ever for kids to be aware of and respectful of other cultures. This doesn’t mean that they have to agree with or learn everything about other cultures, but it does mean that they should be open-minded about different ways of life.
One way you can encourage your child to be more culturally aware is by exposing them to a variety of cultures through foreign language study, travel, books, movies, and music. You can also teach them about your own cultural heritage and traditions.
#10 Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of and understand your own emotions and the emotions of others. It’s about being able to regulate your emotions, respond effectively to emotions in others, and create positive relationships.
Some ways you can help your child develop emotional intelligence are by teaching them how to label their emotions, helping them understand the emotions of others, and modeling emotional intelligence yourself. You can also encourage them how to manage stress in healthy ways.
#11 Time Management
Time management is the ability to use your time efficiently and effectively. It’s about being able to set priorities, make a schedule, and stick to it. And we’re sure you know how it helps kids with things like homework, getting ready for school in the morning, and keeping up with extracurricular activities.
Some ways you can help your child develop time management skills are by teaching them how to make a schedule and use a planner. You can also help them develop these skills with activities like cooking dinner together, planning small events, and working on other projects with set deadlines.
#12 Focus and Concentration
Being able to focus and concentrate is, unfortunately, an increasingly rare skill for kids and adults. It’s essential kids learn these soft skills early so they can excel in school, extracurricular activities, and their future careers.
Some ways you can help your child develop focus and concentration skills are by teaching them how to break down tasks into smaller goals and helping them find a quiet place to do homework. You can also help them learn how to eliminate distractions, set priorities, and focus on one task at a time.
How Learning a Foreign Language Helps Kids Learn Soft Skills
Did you know that learning a foreign language can help kids develop strong soft skills? When kids learn a foreign language, they are exposed to new cultures and perspectives. This helps them develop empathy, cultural awareness, and communication skills to effectively interact with people from different backgrounds.
In addition, bilingual children often develop strong problem-solving skills by creatively discovering new ways to communicate ideas. Lastly, learning a foreign language is one of the best ways to develop a strong work ethic and growth mindset. All language learners start with little ability to speak or understand the language but gradually improve with practice and persistence.
If you’re considering enrolling your child in a foreign language class, look for one with a curriculum that focuses on conversation and cultural immersion. At LingoCircle, we’ve found that this type of language curriculum helps children get the most out of the experience and develop important soft skills that they can use for the rest of their life.
Helping your child to attain soft skills is one of the best things parents can do. These life skills will help children in school, in their future careers, and personal lives. And early childhood is the best time for your children to learn these skills!
For a fun, engaging, and educational way to help your child develop soft skills, consider signing them up for foreign language classes. If your child is between the ages of 3-15, you can enroll them in classes at LingoCircle to learn French, English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, or Arabic. You can also get the first lesson for free!
Simple Ways to Learn a Second Language at Home
Get resources and tips to help supplement your bilingual education journey at home.