Sunday, November 6, 2011

Raising Kids for Heights of Success: Four Must-Have Skills to Teach Your Kids Now

Raising Smart Kids – Four Must-Have Skills to Teach Your Kids

If you are starting to read this article you are most likely a parent - a concerned and an involved parent at that.  Another brilliant observation one would make is that you are looking for the secret recipe to raising a smart, genius and a highly skilled super-child - the recipe that parents of Tiger Woods and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook fame must know, of course. Parents, your search ends today.  Here are the four “must-have” skills that every parent should know and teach their child regardless of the field the child chooses to excel in:

  1. Creativity – You cannot force a child to be creative. But you can provide the right environment for her to develop the skill on her own. Don’t shrug your 4 yr old off when she starts off on her stream of questions.  Pay attention, look into her curious eyes and respond with an answer or be honest that you don’t know but would help her find it.  Play memory or pattern games while driving them to school. Give them time for free-play and to be silly – it’s an important part of learning to be creative.

  1. Persistence – Learning a new skill is generally “boring” for kids or at least not as fun as watching TV or playing Nintendo.  Key is to constantly remind yourself and your child that fun starts when they start using the skill – be it swimming, basketball, music or algebra. It’s critical for you, as a parent, to be persistent and sometimes that’d require you to be tough and not let your child give up.  Teach your child to manage failures. It’s as important for a child to taste small failures as it is for her to relish successes. Failures teach kids to be mentally strong – a highly desirable trait that goes hand in hand with being persistent.

  1. Confidence - Instill confidence in your kids from early on. Give them exposure to public speaking. Don’t make all their decisions for them. Don’t interfere or take sides when kids are fighting unless of course there’s risk of injury. Let them resolve minor conflicts themselves but do show your support.  Self confidence requires being comfortable with ones physical appearance as well.  Teach them portion control but don’t deride them if they happen to be overweight.

  1. Sports Skills – Sports is not only the best way for kids to get physical exercise, it’s also a fun way to learn the skills we’ve discussed so far. Focus, team spirit, competitiveness, problem solving and the list goes on and on.  But you as a parent must decide if your goal is to make your child the next Tiger Woods or use sports as fun way to get physical exercise and learn some important skills along the way. Like it or not – you must make that choice.  Be ready to become a Chauffer for your child with weekends and evenings at the Swim meet or at the Basketball court across town if you want your child to have a shot at being the next big sports star. There’s no short cut.  No one has ever become a sports sensation by taking 30min weekly lessons during the summer. 

Raising kids to grow up to be highly successful adults is not an exact science . Amy Chua, the author of controversial bestseller “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” advocates taking a tough-parent approach. It might have worked for her kids but may not work for yours. It doesn’t encourage creativity – one of the most critical skills along with persistence that your child must learn.  Teaching kids new skills the “right way” takes a lot of hard work and patience and that means you need to hit the floor yourself and show some passion.  Eat healthy food yourself if you want your child to eat healthy.  Go play Basketball with your friends and show your child what a fun sport it is.  The “right way” is not essentially the easy way but no one ever said raising a child for success and greatness was a piece-of-cake.

1 comment:

  1. Lack of daily activity and food has brought our kids to the level where they have dificulties working out in kindergarten or just outside. The technology is their preocupation and it is our/parents fault.
    Kids should exercise at least an hour a day. To keep them active we developed Yuvi - Story Aerobics for Kids. The program is suitable for kids age 2-6. They help Yuvi to rescue all the toys by copying (exercising) him. You can find out more about the programm on