To learn and grow, it is important for human being to learn and inculcate certain life skills. These skills are developed from their childhood, by their parents, in school and from their surroundings.
Focus, as a skill, allows people to start with a task without procrastinating and maintain the flow of attention and effort until they finish their work. It helps people concentrate despite distractions to reach a goal by putting in their best efforts. It is very important that children learn to focus on their work or any task that they undertake. This will help them even in the future, to set and reach goals.
Children learn by having to work according to schedules, to plan their work out. This helps them imbibe this quality, which will help them in their workplaces and in other spheres. It is important that parents help the child at this starting stage, to fix a schedule for them to follow. Allot breaks as well into these schedules which help them refresh themselves and concentrate better for the next task.
2. Communication helps Learn and Grow
It is important for kids to learn the importance of both inter and intra personal communication. They need to involve in interpersonal interactions on a daily basis to create healthy social and emotional skills. This will help them understand and communicate with people better. These skills may develop at different paces, but it is important for them to learn how to read social cues and understand people around them better. Effective communication is the key to building relationships, both personal and professional.
As a parent, it is important to listen to what your child has to say. Not listening might hinder their communication skills, where they begin to think that people will not care for what they have to say. It is also important to teach them to express their feelings, rather than bottling it up. This skill will help them in the future, in their relationship with themselves and with others.
3. Goal setting
It is important for children to understand the importance of goal setting at a young age. It is advised to follow the SMART model of goal setting.
Specific: Set goals that are well defined and clear.
Measurable: The goals should be set keeping in mind that the rate of success should be measurable.
Attainable: Ensure that the goals are attainable.
Relevant: The goals should be relevant to the ultimate aim in mind.
Time bound: Set deadlines and make sure that the child is motivated to reach the deadline.
There are two concepts that parents can enforce to ensure that their child remains motivated to continue accomplishing goals that they set for themselves. The ‘Law of effect’ states that the principle that responses that create a typically pleasant outcome in a particular situation are more likely to occur again in a similar situation, whereas responses that produce a typically unpleasant outcome are less likely to occur again in the situation
a. Reinforcement is given to increase the likelihood of the similar behaviour occurring again.
- Positive reinforcement: Positive reinforcement takes place when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the presentation of a pleasant stimulus. This concept ensures the possibility of the child repeating the similar behaviour. For example, when the child achieves something, give him or her a chocolate. Here, it is important to keep in mind that the child will get bored of the same sort of reward every time. As a parent, try to make the rewards more interesting, but also ensure that the child doesn’t work just for the reward.
- Negative reinforcement: Negative reinforcement occurs when a response is strengthened because it is followed by the removal of an aversive (unpleasant) stimulus. For example, promising the child to reduce the number hours to study. Removing an unpleasant thing will motivate the child to work forward to repeating the same behaviour.
b. Punishment is given to reduce the likelihood of the similar behaviour repeating.
- Positive punishment: Positive punishment weakens a response by presenting something unpleasant after the response. For example, if the child misbehaves, add an extra hour of homework, so that he or she might think twice before engaging in a similar behaviour again.
- Negative punishment: Negative punishment weakens a response by reducing or removing something pleasant. For example, if the child doesn’t finish his or her homework, reduce the playtime, so that they learn not to repeat a similar behaviour.
5. Environment friendly behaviour
As in most behaviours, kids watch their parents and learn. Set an example for your child, so that they also learn how to develop eco-friendly behaviours. There are some ways that they can also adapt this to their lives, at that young age. In their own activities, encourage them to find ways to limit waste, conserve electricity, paper and the basic of the 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
- Energy conservation: Remind them to turn off lights and fans when they leave the room or when they do not require it. Parents can also encourage them to switch the TV off, when no one is watching it.
- Reduce pollution: Encourage the children to walk to close by places or to cycle, rather than asking parents for lifts. If the parents are concerned about their safety, they can encourage the child to form a group with his or her friends that stay nearby.
- Ask the kids to gather their toys, books and other items that are in a good condition which they do not use and encourage them to donate it to local charities. Take them to these donation centres or points and have them drop off the items.
Let children take on tasks independently. Let them pack their lunch boxes by themselves or put their toys back. Allow them to make mistakes but push them function independently. Early in life, it important to give children a fair share of independence. Parents should keep children a little bit in their control to ensure their safety. This enables the child’s sense of security that teaches them that they have a safe haven to come back to if they feel lost or face troubles.
However, there is a thin line between security and dependence. When they feel secure enough, it is important to push them forward, to explore spaces past the safety that the parent provides. This push forward is very important and allows children to learn and hone their own capabilities in the outside world and to find a sense of security, competence and independence among other skills for themselves. It also pushes them to take risks and allows them to function without having to be too dependent on others for their daily functioning.
An important skill that people should develop is that of resilience. It is necessary that children learn to take on challenges, bounce back from failure, and try again. Children learn to take on challenges in environments that are not too challenging but give them an option to explore and take risks. Encourage children to take risks and motivate them to achieve them. It is equally important to teach them that failure is a part of life and that it is okay to fail at times. Motivate them with words such as, ‘Well done!’, ‘You did your best’, etc.