Okay, Future: How Soft Skills Prepare Kids for Life Challenges

Somewhere Between Order and Chaos

How Soft Skills Prepare Kids for Life Challenges
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  • Brittleness, or fragility, can be overcome by resilience
  • Anxiety is diminished by mindfulness and empathy
  • Non-linearity requires contextual solutions and flexibility
  • Incomprehensibility can be battled with the help of transparency and intuition

Schooling: yesterday, today, tomorrow

How Soft Skills Prepare Kids for Life Challenges
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Softer, Faster, Higher, Stronger

Obviously, different people can create different meanings — and names! — when referring to soft skills. Twenty-first century skills, life skills, transferable skills, people skills — these have many long and short definitions. One of the most famous interpretations comes from James Heckman, the Nobel-awarded economist, and it can be reduced to, “personal traits and abilities that predict success in life.”

How Soft Skills Prepare Kids for Life Challenges | the top-10 essential soft skills based on the WHO position paper

Problem Solving

Problem solving is a complex process that involves becoming aware of a problem, defining a problemattic matter, analyzing the situation, finding suitable solutions, implementing the chosen solution, and evaluating the results. There are a lot of different factors that contribute to problem-solving skills, from self-confidence and analytical thinking to the ability to define cause-effect relationships and decision making. Good problem-solving skills are associated with higher levels of resiliency; they have a positive influence on innovative behavior as well, thus enabling students to find constructive and unique solutions to the current problems while staying flexible and resilient even in most difficult situations.

Critical Thinking

Although critical thinking is tightly connected with problem solving, it is considered to be the overlying ability, or meta-thinking, that facilitate each stage of the problem-solving process. Critical thinking can be defined as a set of information and universal intellectual values, used for the purpose of constructing new knowledge, and at the same time as a habit, based on intellectual commitment, guiding the cognitive process. It was proven that critical thinking increases a student’s creativity, teamwork skills, and communication — language and presentation skills. Critical thinking is a crucial skill for mental health in today’s media-saturated world; it helps to shape well-informed, unbiased opinions for being independent citizens and making progress in science.

Decision Making

Decision making is a cognitive process of making choices and selecting the right course to reach the desired goal. It usually involves gathering internal and external information, identifying the alternatives, weighing the evidence, choosing the path, and taking an action!

How Soft Skills Prepare Kids for Life Challenges
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Creative Thinking

An ability to create new or rework existing ideas according to the situational requirements — that’s how creativity can be defined.

  • Domain-relevant knowledge and skills, for example in music or math
  • Intrinsic task motivation, based on interest, enjoyment, satisfaction or challenge
  • Creativity-relevant processes — divergent and convergent thinking, independence, self-discipline, risk taking

Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is an extent to which people understand and reflect on their internal states and their interactions with others. Aspects of self-awareness, such as mindfulness, reflection, and rumination, have a positive influence on mental health; it also encourages persistence, thus ensuring better day-to-day performance. Self-awareness strategies help children grow in their social and emotional lives because such activities literally rearrange the structure of a brain towards greater flexibility and help make thinking processes more manageable and productive.

Empathy

Empathy can be described as a set of processes aimed to understand, share, and accept feelings and emotions of others through perspective-taking by directly observing or imagining their emotional states. Evolving from reflexive crying in early infants to active prosocial behavior in older children, empathic abilities are determined by the genes to some extent, but warm and responsive interactions with significant others and diverse learning experiences can also contribute to empathy development.

Interpersonal Relationship Skills

This cluster of skills is a very broad one and can be also named as social skills or social intelligence. It includes relationship-building competencies, teamwork skills, emotional intelligence, personality traits, leadership, self-management, and communication skills.

How Soft Skills Prepare Kids for Life Challenges
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Communication Skills

Communication as a set of skills can be mixed to some extent with interpersonal abilities, because it is used to convey information from one person to another. Communication grows in importance from infancy for the needs to be met and then throughout the whole life resulting in sophisticated forms of information exchange. According to Children’s Communication Checklist, these skills include structural linguistic competencies, such as vocabulary, syntax, semantics, and pragmatic language skills — namely, understanding and using the context, initiating and sustaining adequate conversations, and expressing own ideas.

Coping with Stress

First of all, a good balance of stress in one’s life can be promoting health and growth in terms of social, emotional, and cognitive development. Coping strategies require both mental and behavioral efforts on tackling stress factors and can be determined by a coping repertoire developed from previous similar experiences. Hundreds of coping strategies exist, effective and adaptive ones are based on problem-solving, emotional regulation, cognitive restructuring, getting social support, and active acceptance. Productive forms of distraction, specifically physical exercises, meditations, and reading a book, can also contribute to stress-releasing.

Emotional Management

Emotional management, or regulation, involves efforts to modulate emotional arousal in a way that facilitates adaptive functioning, as defined in research. Children with healthy emotional regulation are able to control negative urges in response to emotional distress, have better mental health, get higher grades, and adjust more successfully to new situations.

Soft Skills-Based Learning to Make Kids Future-Proof

At KIDDIO, we strongly believe that soft skills should be mastered from the preschool age, as early life experiences have a lasting impact on later learning, behavior, mental health, and occupational success.

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Soft skills-based online classes for kids 3–9 years | We help children build foundational skills and become future-proof