Keep Your Kids Learning This Lockdown Period
I remember taking my son to see a counselor about some issues a few years back. Throughout the whole session, he had his hands in his pockets, face down, and was always mumbling answers when asked questions. I was furious afterward, how would he decide to play mute in that situation? I even grew suspicious, ‘is this boy hiding something from me? I asked myself. But then, after making the necessary finding, I discovered that my son is yet to learn those soft skills necessary for his development.
You might be wondering, since we have soft skills, there must be hard skills as well. So before I explain what soft skills are, hard skills are those skills that a child is taught in the school, like reading, math, science, etc. while soft skills involve interpersonal skills that are not taught in the classroom.
So where do you learn soft skills?
Do you think confident people were born with confidence? When you look at them relate to other people, you had always admired their confidence. Do you think they were taught that in a classroom? There is high certainty such a person got that from someone they have always admired like a mentor.
Soft skills are not taught
While your child might be learning how to read and write in the classroom, schools find it difficult to teach soft skills like communication and emotional intelligence. What people do not understand is that soft skills are not taught, at least not like you would teach child arithmetic and alphabets. Why is that so?
Soft skills are not skills like we call them, they are called “personal characteristics that enable an individual to interact effectively with other people”. In other words, they are known as personal traits, not skills. Some of these skills include social skills, manners, communication, listening, empathy, problem-solving, self-control, etc.
What can the parent do?
So what if they cannot be taught these skills in the school, where else can they learn it? As a parent, you are in the right position to help these young ones develop these necessary soft skills. The best way you can do this is by being a perfect example for your children. Ensure you use every opportunity presented to you to help them know what it means to have these skills or traits. Children are always watching you, listening to every word you say; they would even mimic the way you talk, walk, or even eat sometimes.
This should tell you that every of your lifestyle must speak well.
So you might be asking yourself, ‘how do I teach them these skills? Before you start to worry yourself, children learn these skills by example – practicing them in real situations. They are easy to inculcate, and we even do most of them.
1. Spend time without distractions
Rather than have them soak into the virtual world of Television, video games, and social media, let your children have the exposure that extends beyond the screen. In a time like this when they are at home because of covid-19, interact more with your kids through
Games; board games – chess, puzzles, riddles.
Doing house chores; laundry, cooking, lawn mowing, clearing the garage, etc.
Three words are more or less like the whole summary of having manners; Please, Thank You and I’m Sorry. Ensure you as the parent use these three when necessary. It is easier for your kids to pick up a trait when they see you doing it.
Instead of telling them what not to do, guide them in what they should do. For example, instead of telling your kid do not stutter when talking, don’t look down, tell them to look up, stand up, speak out.
Children like to feel good about themselves, especially to their mates and friends. Often they use good grades as a yardstick for this. So what will happen when that child fails a test? They feel low. It now lies on you to tell them, everything isn’t about the grade, not passing a test is normal. If you want to give your kids the self-esteem they want outside the classroom, take them on adventures; like visiting the zoo, amusement parks, going camping, or achieving a task together.
Once they start to experience other achievements outside the classroom, they recognize that life is not restricted to the classroom. So when next they do not perform well in a test, they can overcome and say well, I just rode on a horse with my dad!
For kids that have everything they ask given to them without asking too much, they would think life is like that for everyone. No one wants to raise heartless children, so how do you inculcate that trait of empathy in them?
Let them see how other people live, visit motherless babies’ homes, volunteer as a family for community outreach, or let them help you prepare and package goodies for the needy during the festive period and have them delivered together.
Your children might not be taught these skills in the school, but by teaching them yourself, and inculcating them into their daily lifestyle, you will start to connect with them in ways you have never done before.