As parents, we want the best for our children. This can cause us to push our children to bury their heads in books to strive for academic skills. Every parent wants their child to graduate and be ready for a career.
You’ve probably heard schools peddle their excellent academic turnouts but while the numbers don’t lie, the development of a child’s soft skills within and beyond the four walls of school bears just as much weight. Being equipped with the right soft skills will make sure that they’re ready for university, and life beyond it.
The things you teach your child and the environment you put them in during their early formative years has a lasting effect on their life. This is why it’s important to pay close attention to their soft skills, and not just their test scores and academic performance.
However, the problem is that sometimes they put too much attention on “hard skills” such as math, reading, and writing, but neglect the importance of their EQ or emotional intelligence.
Having underdeveloped soft skills can lead to frustrations and unsatisfactory work performance in the future. A person that lacks the necessary soft skills may be missing out on opportunities for success, and may have trouble socialising with their peers.
Unlike the hard skills which can be easily picked up in school, soft skills are those that have to be moulded from the home to the classroom. These essential tools that they’ll need in the future will equip them with social graces and a confidence to help them prosper in whatever field they choose.
What are the necessary skills your child will need to succeed in university and in the real world?
It would be ridiculous to say that soft skills are more important than hard skills. Rather, it is finding the balance between these two that will help rear your child develop in the right direction.
On one hand, hard skills are the necessary tools of trade one will need in a chosen career path. These are the things that look good on a resume, and what will make your application shine brighter than the competition’s. Everyone wants to choose a candidate that looks the best on paper, but not everything is determined by grades.
However, it is the mastery of soft skills that will tell how your child will do in university, or on the job. The problem with today’s environment is that there is a lot of pressure on children to have good grades, and they don’t have the chance to just be a kid. Boys and girls are too busy with tutoring, extra classes, and whatever else that can help them get more hard skills in their arsenal, and they often neglect their emotional intelligence.
In reality, it’s actually harder to learn soft skills than hard skills. This is what employers and university admissions offices are starting to shed some light on with regard to their applicants. A well-rounded person with highly developed soft skills is becoming more desirable, and it’s these applicants that are seen to be invaluable to a university and to a business’ success.
Otherwise known as people skills or emotional intelligence, soft skills are the ability of a person to interact with another. These skills contribute to the relationships, interactions, and communication that one has with others.
But which of these skills are the most important ones for your child to flourish in university and in real life?
If your child is gearing up for university, here are the soft skills they will need:
Your child can know the whole almanac from cover to cover, be a computer whiz, or a math prodigy, but a 2018 study from LinkedIn shows that employers still cite leadership, among other soft skills, as one of the most desirable traits in applicants.
The ability to lead a team or supervise others may be one of the most coveted skills for employers. This doesn’t just point to a person showing signs of being good at giving orders and directions; rather, it displays how one is able to command authority and work well with others.
Successful communication is further broken down into five components. First, there is verbal communication which refers to one’s ability to speak in a concise and clear manner. There is also aural communication that deals with how you listen and perceive the things that people tell you.
The third communication component is non-verbal communication, which is in fact your body language and your facial expressions. The fourth component is visual communication, which refers to your ability to use images to relay information. The last of the five components is written communication, which refers to text messages, e-mails, reports, and other documents.
Being able to communicate one’s thoughts and ideas clearly through these five components is essential, as it will set the tone for how people will perceive you. It can help your child build friendships in university, and build good rapport in the workplace.
The ability to work well with others is an essential skill wherever your child may go. From playmates, to classmates, to work mates, it is inevitable for one to interact with others. This is why it’s crucial that your child knows how to collaborate and communicate with their peers.
While some people may prefer to work individually, it is still important to show admissions officers or employers that you understand and value the concept of joining forces with others.
Problem solving skills
When we talk about problem solving for emotional intelligence, we don’t mean figuring out what 2y is in algebra.
Critical thinking is one of the most sought-after traits, and being an independent problem solver will make your child an even more attractive applicant. In real life scenarios, hurdles and problems will be thrown at them that they weren’t taught about in school.
Knowing what to do in these situations, like how to get help from their peers or figuring out quick fixes, will make them a valuable asset in the university or company you’re eyeing.
The only constant thing is change, and being skilled enough to roll with everything that life throws at you is an important skill.
Companies and individuals need to be able to change at an instant with how fast-paced everything is in the 21st century. Being in college means that they’ll be trying on different hats, and then proceeding to employment in which they’ll be expected to change gears at a snap.
Apart from having a flexible skill set, your child will also need to adapt to the changing social environments they will be facing. They may need to change from formal to informal, or have varying levels of comfort depending on what the situation calls for.
More commonly known as “people skills”, interpersonal skills go hand-in-hand with communication skills. However, it isn’t limited to just what one says, it also refers to the context and diplomacy of the communication.
Interpersonal skills can more obviously be observed by how one builds and maintains relationships. Aside from relationship-building, the way one receives and handles criticism factors in as well, along with how they empathise with others.
Mastering this skill can make your child trustworthy and reliable, which may open new doors for them in the long run.
Having competence and commitment to whatever one does makes for an excellent work ethic.
In university, it’s incredibly important that a student is committed to learn. From this, all the other necessary traits will follow. If your child is committed and passionate about studying, they’ll have the responsibility to perform academic tasks and excel with their hard skills.
Commitment also plays a huge role in the workplace, as being committed to one’s job and to helping the company succeed is admirable. This can come in the form of rarely being late, meeting deadlines, and even going beyond the call of duty for a job well done.
It’s never too late to develop soft skills. Developing your child’s emotional intelligence will make them a desirable applicant in university, and a valuable member of the workplace.
Learning these skills is a lifelong process, but starting your child early can get them on a path of success not just academically, but for the future.
The 7 soft skills you need to pay special attention to are leadership, teamwork, communication, problem solving, adaptability, interpersonal skills, and a strong work ethic. By making sure that your loved one is developing them from the ground up, you’ll help them avoid conflict in the future.
Want your child to hone these skills in a holistic place? Rehoboth Christian College is the perfect place for parents looking to send their kids to a Christian school. Have your loved ones see the world from a Christian view while making lifelong friendships.