Taking Care of Business: 5 Job Skills to Teach Your Kids - Today

Learning Valuable SkillsLearning Valuable SkillsTake Our Sons and Daughters to Work day inspires kids to follow their dreams for the future. Now we've heard it said that the jobs of the future have not yet been invented. So how can we help our kids prepare for jobs that don't yet exist? By helping them develop classic skills that will serve them well no matter what the future holds.

1. Persistence

Persistence can be a difficult thing to teach in our face paced world. It's natural for kids to want to give up if they think what they're working on will take too long for a payoff. But the fable was right, in the end the tortoise wins the race. How can we turn the fable into something more tangible for our kids?

We can start by encouraging projects that take a while to see results. Paper mache crafts are good for this since they require a few days of drying time. Sculptures, pinatas and even costume items like helmets can all be made with paper mache.

Gardening is another great activity for helping kids see the power of persistence. There's nothing quite like seeing food come from a seed.

Plant carrots or beans and encourage kids to look for signs of growth each day. You can even create a growth calendar to keep kids engaged along the way and give them a sense of just how long it takes things to grow.

To do this, take a monthly calendar and mark the day seeds are planted. Then mark a day for harvest. In between those dates, give the kids a ruler to take out to the garden and measure growth or draw pictures of what the plants look like.

You can also set up a small greenhouse right on the kids' windowsill. Click here to see how.

Related: 20 educational games to keep kids sharp all year long

2. Curiosity

Persistence is a skill that will serve kids well no matter what job they have in the future. But they'll also need to be deeply curious. How do things work? What tweaks and adjustments can be made to make something better? Why does that happen?

Lego® building is great at encouraging rounds and rounds of iteration. So is cooking. Encourage kids to cook alongside you when there's time. Ask kids, "what ingredients can we add to make these pancakes even better next time?" and then try them out. Did those ingredients make the pancakes better? What could we try next time?

And we can't forget science experiments. Studying how something works, making adjustments to see what will happen the next time feed curiosity and help it grow. Click here for 10 awesome hands-on science experiments for kids.

3. Creativity

Creativity is more than crafting and being artsy. True creativity is the ability to take something existing and create something new from it. How can we encourage this skill in our kids? First by embracing our own creativity. We're all creative! It's true. You know how we're told we shouldn't say, "I'm not good at math" to our kids? The same holds true for creativity. Instead, try saying "It's something I'm working on."

After owning our own creative mojo, we can set up opportunities for kids to think about materials in novel ways. Take a hoola hoop. Did you know there are a dozen different things you can do with them-everything from weaving a rug, to creating a giant croquet course.

Setting up opportunities for kids to experiment with materials to create something new can go a long way in helping them develop their creativity.

4. Interpersonal Skills

Understanding how others feel can be a challenge for kids. We know what's going on inside our own head, but what about others? Being able to read people (how they see a situation and how they see you) helps kids from misreading a situation and jumping to false conclusions.

It starts with empathy. How can we help our kids develop their empathetic skills? We can encourage: service acts like donating food to a local food bank, good manners, and dress up/acting/make-believe. When we let children act out a character, we're allowing them to place him/herself in another person's shoes.

Having ongoing conversations about how other people feel is important too. You can do this in real life or ask questions about characters in stories. "Why do you think she's crying?" "Can you tell how that man is feeling by looking at his face?" "If someone were to do that to you, how would you feel?"

5. Self Expression

Being able to communicate thoughts and ideas in a way that's meaningful is a valuable skill. Providing kids with journals can help them develop their ability to express themselves through writing. Click here for 10 journals kids can make themselves.

However, writing is just one form of expression. For kids who don't enjoy writing, there are may other ways to express thoughts and ideas-music, acting, drawing, building, poetry, photography. You may find that your child gravitates to one more than another.

The jobs of the 21st Century have yet to be invented, but these 5 core skills-perseverance, creativity, curiosity, interpersonal and self-expression-will hopefully set our kids on a path to success no matter what the future holds.

- By Jennifer Cooper
Follow Jennifer on Spoonful

For 20 silly games that will bring the family together, visit Spoonful!.

MORE ON SPOONFUL
Be our guest: 45 Disney character cupcakes for fans of all ages
Tag, relay races and 35 more outdoor games to get kids off the couch and moving
Frozen flower pops, carrot patch cookies and 23 other spring snacks
Ice-cream ducklings, volcano sundaes, and 30 more clever desserts

Spoonful | Make. Everyday.
Stay connected. Follow Spoonful on Facebook and Twitter.

Loading...

FOLLOW SHINE

POPULAR TEAM MOM STORIES