I remember growing up; it was 1988, I was in Year 5 at school. I just couldn’t keep up with the other kids, especially when it came to Maths.
I’d fake sick days whenever we had a maths lesson that day. Some days, the thought of going to school made me ill. Literally.
Looking back, I wished my parents could have done something more. I am not blaming them as they did the best they could with the knowledge they had. I wished that I could be like the other kids. Normal. It was such a sad period in my life.
A lot of time has passed since then, our understanding of education, parenting and psychology has evolved considerably.
Parents are more equipped.
Heck, we have the internet now, and it wasn’t around in 1988. I now have four of my own kids, facing the same battles my parents faced. Our eldest girl is a lawyer, and our eldest son is studying to be a teacher, with another son and daughter following close behind.
As an educator, entrepreneur, and parent, I’ve learned a few things along the way. I hope they help you along your parenting journey.
1. Be a role model.
It sounds kind of obvious. Just go with me for a second. Being a role model doesn’t mean having ‘perfect’ relationships or always being happy, but it does mean making an effort to be a good role model for your child.
Don’t complain that your kids are addicted to smartphones when using yours at the dinner table. The old adage is true; kids are like sponges. If you study, they’ll study. If you exercise, they’ll exercise.
2. Teach kids to think for themselves.
I get it; we’re all busy, it’s much more efficient to yell instructions in the morning. Instead, teach them how to think, but not ‘what’ to think. When they ask ‘where’s my school bag’, instead of telling them, simply say, “that’s a good question. Where do you think it could be?”
It was a game-changer for me. It meant that I stopped being the ‘answer person’. My kids are growing up to be far more independent and resilient as a result.
3. Hit the Pause Button.
Teach your kids that it’s important to take a timeout to relax and rejuvenate. In such a busy world, it’s always tempting to stay connected and always “on.” Sadly, some workplaces glorify overworking to the point of burnout.
4. Show gratitude.
Arguably one of the most important ways you can help your child learn how to thrive is to show gratitude.
Instead of saying, ‘It’s a miserable wet day today.’ Try saying, ‘The rain smells amazing today!’
According to Harvard, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.
5. Problems and obstacles are normal. Deal with it.
Life is full of challenges. How you deal with them says a lot about your character. At school, your children will face challenges. How they deal with them will determine their success.
Talk about your challenges openly, encourage kids to share theirs. Talk through the problem-solving process. You can help your child become develop their problem-solving skills by brainstorming possible solutions and discussing the options.
6. Have a goal. Have a vision.
Having purpose and a vision for your life is what gives you meaning. It just makes for a happier life.
Viktor Frankl wrote that “Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.”
Help your child to set goals and talk about a shared vision for the future. It will help them cope with setbacks and challenges throughout their school career.
7. Encourage your child to develop new skills
In today's world, if you go through the job descriptions of most positions, you'll notice that employers require you to have a wide variety of skill sets in different areas. Common in almost all jobs is that it requires you to be tech-savvy and think analytically. Skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, basic knowledge of computers etc., are needed in most jobs.
Many areas will be affected by technological advancement. Thus, it is suggested to encourage your kid to develop their skills in different directions.
Encouraging your children to try new things and giving them the confidence to explore will help them become successful in future. It will help them adapt to change and become more resilient, both now and in the future.
Think outside the box, enrol your child in courses that would teach them solving logical problems, a foreign language, chess, coding, etc. Ensure that your child understands that learning is a lifetime pursuit. Say it often.
I am not a huge reader, but I love learning. I love audiobooks and podcasts. My kids roll their eyes every time they get in the car (they are subjected to my endless array of podcasts and audiobooks).
8. Teach your child teamwork and leadership skills.
Leadership skills are essential to any job position (especially if they have big career ambitions). Academic education isn’t enough; they must learn people skills, Emotional Intelligence, teamwork and leadership.
Leadership includes a set of different skills such as decision-making, goal setting, negotiation and planning. You can teach these skills at home by giving your kids the autonomy to make their own decisions. Kids who are pampered too much and their parents make all their decisions cannot develop autonomy or decision-making ability. It, in turn, holds them back from developing leadership skills.
There are many activities through which kids can learn leadership skills, such as participating in sports clubs, student council, school holiday coding camps, etc.
9. Help your kids develop analytical skills.
No matter what jobs will be introduced in the future, automation and technological changes are bound to occur. Critical thinking and analytical skills are crucial to adapt to any sort of change and solve new challenges and problems.
Critical thinking, creative thinking and analytical thinking are some elements that differentiate humans from artificial intelligence and differentiate leaders from the general workforce. No matter how advanced artificial intelligence gets, humans' ability to think logically will always supersede it.
Developing and enhancing these skills in your kids encourages them to play brain games such as crossword puzzles and sudoku.
10. Strengthen the core skills of reading, writing, and math.
Reading and math skills are some of the most useful skills to perform any job efficiently. Ensure that your kids excel at these skills because written communication and reading comprehension skills will continue to be critical skills in the future.
As our world moves towards a digital approach, we are starting to rely on digital technology for everything, from everyday chores, such as ordering groceries, to having online work meetings. Amidst this technological shift, many project-management tools have been introduced, such as Slack and Jira. These tools require an individual to have excellent written communication skills.
Mathematics undoubtedly helps in every aspect of life, but with time, it is becoming increasingly important to be proficient in math due to advances in data science and robotics.
Encourage the use of Maths apps and games to make it more fun. Many apps provide fun and creative ways to learn math.
Additionally, one way to improve your math skills is through STEM education. It caters to science, technology, engineering, and maths lessons, preparing students for greater skills in the future.
Did you know that coding is a great way to improve maths skills? Plus, it’s a whole lot more fun than a maths tutor!
11. Teach your child to code
Coding is an integral element of future-oriented jobs. With advancements in technology and automation, you need to understand that computer engineers and IT professionals are the main driving forces behind this changing world.
Technology is involved in almost all professions, from medicine to manufacturing; hence, learning the language of code can prove beneficial in understanding data analysis, machine thinking, process articulation, etc. So, these jobs are not going anywhere anytime soon. If anything, we will have more jobs blooming in this field of technology.
Even if your child doesn’t take up a job that involves writing codes, learning how to code will help them understand the basics of computational thinking and the effects of technology on their working environment. It will serve as a huge asset to the company they decide to work for.
Start them young
Making your child get equipped will help them become more prepared in their lives. It will guide them to the various tracks they might take today and in the future. As you prepare them today, they are beginning to build their cognitive, emotional, and intellectual capacity, resulting in more sturdy and competent individuals.
Through this, you are helping them to thrive more rather than become very dependent on you.
Other parents start teaching skills to their children even before the kid can speak. They are already nurturing their minds with practical abilities and decision-making skills. As they grow older, they are becoming more and more prepared to further their knowledge and skills.
So, if you want your children to practice discipline and acquire 21st Century skills, you might as well provide the best possible care and nurturing for them as early as possible. Let’s say age 5 until the teenage years.
See how the 11 steps above help you. Try it and imagine what your child would become.
Let your child thrive.
Parenting is a continuous process, even after you nailed the 11 Steps above. However, many factors are still lying around that might either make your child the best or the worst. So, you should guide them throughout the whole process.
At home. Because you are the first people around your family, you should at least provide them with the biggest support. Do fun activities with them as you incorporate the 11 Steps indicated earlier.
Some parents use books, workbooks, unplugged STEM challenges, DIY activities, and even purchase tech toys to sharpen their child’s personality. Other than that, you could also nurture them through different challenges, games, and practical bonding with them as you inspire them to thrive more.
With friends. Besides your family, your kid’s friends also have a huge impact on themselves. It can positively influence their morale and academic performance, but it can also cause troubles.
As parents, you might as well see who your child’s friends are. Do they have excellent attitudes, manners, and ideas? How their parents hone their skills, too? Would it be better to find good friends for your child with the same interest as them?
At school. Your kid’s second home is the school. It is where they mostly spend their time of the day. So, teachers, instructors, and school personnel are the ones to handle your kid’s mental and emotional nourishment.
But you could observe if they are really obtaining the best quality of education for 21st Century approaches. Moreover, determining your child’s performance in the class would help you see their improvements.
As you see these things, you would be able to prevent child issues such as cyberbullying, lack of confidence, unmotivated learners, and other problems at home, at school, or even outside with friends.
An extra key to help your child thrive.
Another way to help your kid get back on track is through after school care programs. These are programs that will make your child busy and get additional education. However, it does not make them bored or tired but brings them a fun, exciting, and thrilling time to learn.
One after school program in Sydney, Australia, is the Skill Samurai. This kids code school offers varieties of skill nourishment for your children. It is open for boys and girls ages 7 to 18 to learn more about technology and computer sciences.
Through after school programs, your child will have a chance to communicate with others with the same interest. It would also help them become more independent in different situations in life. Most importantly, after school programs like Skill Samurai caters to career-ready skills and 21st Century skills.
Would you help your child thrive more? Get started today.