Around the world everyone from educational leaders, governments, business leaders to policymakers, parents, teachers are asking the same question: what skills will our children need to succeed knowing that it is estimated that two-thirds of the children will work in jobs that do not exist now.

21st-century complex skills are the most valued in this rapidly changing world. One-third of our traditional hard skills are reading, writing and arithmetic. However, more notable are the Soft Skills like Social and Creative skills that enhance Curiosity, Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking along with Grit, Leadership and Adaptability.

During the early years, we have the unique opportunity to make a difference as a baby’s brain develops faster and more significantly than any future time. So, let’s look at some of the ways to work on them.

1) Captivate kids’ attention through activities like playing, talking, cooking, singing, dancing, storytelling and reading books that help develop imagination and stimulate curiosity and develop ability to focus and concentration.

2) Use Think-out-of-the-box strategies by asking them to make their own game rules in familiar games, brainstorm new ways of playing, deciding to change rules again, etc. helps kids learn how to execute their ideas with new strategies and problem solving in a group.

3) Invite kids to provide a solution to common household problems through engineering unique solutions. How are you able to fit all of the suitcases inside the car without blocking off the driver’s view? Cultivate a habit of kids to take part in family decisions after which reward their efforts, if they appear hesitant get the ball rolling, write everyone’s thoughts on a bit of paper, giving the same attention to everyone, when kids learn that their thoughts are welcome, they will experience confidence in contributing their own.

4) Introduce terms from different languages across the world, including the phrases for “please” and “thank you,” and divulge them to the approaches of questions that come from different cultures. The aim is to reveal to them that there are different ways to speak, consume and celebrate, all worthy of respect.

5) Build resilience by letting them know it’s okay to make mistakes, ask for help in times of trouble and thereby managing their emotions positively. Encourage activities that lead to stage presence and group collaborative activities that involve attempting to take turns and maintain self-control.

In summary, by engaging kids with some of these skill sets, together we can make a difference as we all know that the most strategic time for a child learning is in their formative years.

Leena Thakker