With students typically focusing on achieving good grades, taking time to build up their soft skills is probably the last thing on their mind. With skills such as communication, teamwork, conflict resolution and problem-solving not always a main focus of learning in schools, they’re still hugely important when it comes to living a successful life and being able to face challenges in adulthood. It’s a great idea for parents to take the time to help develop these essential skills, which will help children prepare for adulthood sooner rather than later. Here’s a run-down of the 10 most important soft skills for students to cultivate.
In all aspects of life, having effective communication skills is crucial. Good communication skills can be practiced through conversation, listening, speaking, and writing, but also through empathy and self-analysis. Often the most desirable employees and impressive university applicants will showcase solid written and verbal communication skills.
2. Financial Literacy
Financial literacy is an essential life skill for teens preparing for their post-school life. It means having the financial knowledge, skills and attitude needed to make good financial decisions. This includes learning how to budget and manage money, weighing up whether to save or spend, and deciding what to spend money on. Encourage your teen to build their financial knowledge by managing their own budget and saving up for things they want to buy. This useful blog post also has some great tips on teaching children to be financially savvy.
3. Conflict Resolution
Even though conflict is unavoidable in life, it doesn’t have to be negative and can be used to create positive change if it’s managed properly. That’s why having good conflict resolution abilities is such an important skill for all students to learn and practice. In fact, adopting a fair and calm perspective when conflicts do arise will help students establish healthy relationships, prevent negative situations from getting out of hand and enable them to generally be more successful in life.
4. Critical Thinking
Without even realising it, students use critical thinking skills every day. In fact, these important skills are used in everything from problem solving, following through on goals, and making informed decisions. The earlier the foundation of critical thinking is built the sooner students can make sense of information through analysis and thinking. It’s even been found that students that cultivate their critical thinking skills perform better in all areas of life, are more creative and are better at making good judgments.
5. Problem Solving
It’s completely normal for students to face many problems as they’re growing up and entering into adulthood, such as not completing their work on time, falling out with friends or just making a bad decision. It’s normal for parents to want to ‘fix’ everything, however, it’s much more beneficial to try and help students identify the problem and come up with a few solutions together. Not only will this help them learn problem-solving skills, but over time they’ll gradually become more confident in finding their own solutions without your help.
The ability to collaborate and be a team player is an important skill for any student to master. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly more normal seeing groups working together, whether this is in a school or workplace environment. Not only does being an effective team player showcase excellent communication and collaboration skills but also demonstrates compassion and organisation abilities.
With the world constantly changing and evolving, being able to adapt quickly to a new situation or just be flexible in general is an excellent soft skill for students to acquire. Even in adulthood, there will always be challenges, where if they have adaptability, they’ll be much more likely to work through issues and succeed.
8. Active Listening
Active listening is about being present in the conversation and focusing on what the person is saying rather than how we intend to respond to the other person when they finish speaking. Having the ability to actively listen to others is an invaluable skill for children to develop and will make a big difference when it comes to their relationships, emotional maturity, and the ability to empathise with others.
9. Giving and Receiving Feedback
Learning to give and accept feedback with an open mind helps students to broaden their perspectives and strengthen a positive mindset. It will help them become adults who are able to have healthier communication in relationships (both professionally and personally), establish trust with others and provide infinite opportunities for growth and success.
10. Interpersonal Skills
Interpersonal skills are important for day-to-day life, especially for communicating and working with groups and individuals in your personal and professional life. That’s why it’s important to help students develop their interpersonal skills at a young age, so they can grow up being able to speak respectfully, listen carefully, and pay attention to nonverbal communication. Our helpful blog post shows parents some helpful ways to develop interpersonal skills.