Leadership Skills for Children
Research suggests that tomorrow’s leaders will be those with highly developed “Soft Skills.” Soft Skills are interpersonal aptitudes focusing heavily on communication and problem-solving abilities which support success in children long after high school and college. Many of these skills are key focuses in our Kindness & Empathy™ curriculum.
During the month of January, the children at Stepping Stone School will develop Leadership skills as they participate in activities relating to these soft skills. When leadership qualities are nurtured in young children they blossom into qualities like confidence and self-advocacy. Children who embody leadership become successful adults understanding how to get along with others and support their team to reach desired goals and outcomes.
The following activities provide caregivers and parents with ideas to support leadership development at home:
- Build Communication Skills. When children learn how to communicate effectively, they listen to and talk to others in a respectful and productive manner. Playing games like “Telephone” or “Charades” as a family enables children to practice different ways of communicating. Continue practicing communication skills by applying the art of storytelling. Begin by encouraging your child to share about his day and then enhance the skill by having your child in one aspect of his day to help the rest of the family understand what it was like for him in that moment. Clear communication is a vital part of leadership so the more practice your child has in this area, the stronger those skills will become.
- Provide Choices. Leaders must make choices daily. An indecisive leader is an unsuccessful one. Therefore, provide opportunities for your child to make choices for herself. Whether it is providing choice in her outfit, planning a meal, or choosing an activity for the family, opportunities to make choices will help your child learn how to make them. Watch how quickly your child makes decisions to see how to help her develop this skill. Does she ask for help or consult siblings? Use these as opportunities to develop decision-making skills.
- Practice Perseverance and Patience. When times are difficult, everyone turns to a leader for encouragement, therefore the leader must persevere longer and have more patience than others. To build these skills simultaneously, help your child set goals and work towards them. Reflect and adjust as needed. Provide a means for your child to see his progress and celebrate with your child when he meets those goals. Remind him when things feel difficult of all that he has already overcome and help him to see how his efforts have helped get him to the current point. Perseverance continues despite difficulties or delays to reach success.
- Promote Teamwork. The ability to work with a team is critical to leadership. For very young children, work alongside them to support their activities and share their goals. Cooperative games and exercises develop a sense of belonging with shared goals and a shared sense of accomplishment once you have reached those goals. For older children, encourage team-based extracurricular activities to help promote a team mentality. No matter the age, working with others is essential to success in multiple areas of life.
- Learn from Leaders. There are numerous leaders from throughout history who overcame tremendous odds to be successful in their chosen field or profession. Help your child find leaders in her interest area to whom she can relate. When she feels connected to that leader, she will aspire to be like that person and is more likely to persist through challenges.
At Stepping Stone School, we are committed to supporting your child’s growth and development as a whole child. As your child grows in these leadership skills, she will develop the soft skills necessary to build positive relationships which will support success well beyond the classroom.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America. (2023, Aug. 16). Raising a Leader: 10 Leadership Skills for Kids to Develop. Retrieved from https://www.bgca.org/news-stories/2023/August/raising-a-leader-10-leadership-skills-for-kids-to-develop
Ford, J. (2022, Dec. 20). 9 tips for developing child leadership skills. Retrieved from https://www.youhq.co.uk/post/9-tips-for-developing-child-leadership-skills
Laygo-Saguil, J. (2021). Exploring Child Leadership: Preparing Leaders for Sustainable Education for the Future. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED618473.pdf
Mission Grit. (2022, Mar 11). How to Develop Leadership in Kids — 10 Ways. Retrieved from https://www.missiongrit.com/post/how-to-develop-leadership-in-kids-ways
Montessori Academy. (2022, Feb. 15). How to Teach Leadership Skills to Kids: A Step by Step Guide for Parenting. Retrieved from https://montessori-academy.com/blog/teaching-leadership-skills-to-kids/
Patel, D. (2017, July 26). 10 Ways Parents Can Teach Their Children To Be Leaders. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/deeppatel/2017/07/26/10-ways-parents-can-teach-their-children-to-be-leaders/?sh=5b73b2712a76