4 important leadership skills to teach kids

November 02, 2018
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    Leadership is a practical and valuable skill that can help your child go far later in life. It’s good to start young, but how can you go about teaching your preschooler about the life skill?

    Fiona McDonald, head of learning support and training, at Chiltern House Preschool shares four tips.

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  • Good leaders are good communicators
    2 / 5 Good leaders are good communicators

    This doesn’t mean they only talk; good leaders also listen.

    Provide him with opportunities – engage in conversation, be open to sharing about feelings, share books and discuss the stories, explore and discover together.

    Related: How to improve communication with your child

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  • Develop a positive belief
    3 / 5 Develop a positive belief

    Leadership means adopting a “yes, I can!” approach. Provide opportunities for your child to try things for himself; to experience an appropriate level of challenge and to receive positive feedback for his effort.

    In preschool, children are given activities where they are encouraged to make choices (choose the colours and materials to express their ideas), given challenges (building a tall tower with plasticine and sticks) or opportunities to explore and discover (working with magnets, exploring what floats and sinks).

    These activities encourage active participation in learning, provide opportunities for positive encouragement, and contribute to the “I can” belief.

    Related: Is your child an introvert or extrovert?

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  • Develop resilience 
    4 / 5 Develop resilience 

    Overcoming challenges, being able to “bounce back” from disappointment and being open to trying a different approach are important areas that leaders should develop.

    Modelling how you fix mistakes (and the fact that you make them), acknowledging feelings, encouraging your kid to ask questions and asking him to think and express his ideas are good ways you can work on enabling this.

    Related: 3 parenting and education tips from Tiger Mom Amy Chua

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  • Develop a sense of responsibility
    5 / 5 Develop a sense of responsibility

    Being committed to something and taking ownership are qualities of a leader. Give him simple things to do, for example, helping with some of the household chores, tidying up toys, helping to water the plants, and so on.

    Whether or not he becomes a great leader, helping your little one develop the areas mentioned above is important to help him fulfil his potential.

    As dancer and artist Stacia Tauscher put it: “We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.”

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

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How do you know if you're too soft with your preschooler? Most children like to have or do whatever they want – and that’s where learning to follow rules and thinking about others come in. A positive, warm, fair and consistent style of discipline at home encourages your child to think of others, not just of herself. However, some parents prefer to take a softer approach. But where do you draw the line? Here are 10 signs that you may be too soft with your kid. 1. You never say “no”
No matter how well behaved, every child needs to have limits set on their behaviour at times. And that’s why every parent – including you – occasionally has to say “no” to their kid, whether it’s denying her request for extra sweets, or refusing to let her play past her bedtime. 
2. When she complains, you always give in
It’s very difficult to stand your ground in the face of a raging child who is determined to get her own way. But if you give in to your kindergartener every time she challenges you, she’ll quickly learn that you don’t mean what you say, and she’ll scream even louder the next time. 
3. Her cupboards are full of unopened toys
Although she is bound to have her favourite toys, there’s no point in giving her so much that she just stuffs unopened packages in her cupboard. That suggests you give her too much, too often. 
4. Others say that your child is spoilt
You probably don’t think you overindulge her, so it might come as a shock to you when your friends suggest that you spoil her and are too soft. But if they have noticed this, maybe you need to step back and consider the comment more seriously. 5. She always expects to get her way
Part of growing up involves learning to think of others. A child who is treated too softly by her parents expects to be in the driver’s seat all the time, even with friends. So she assumes, for example, that she’ll always be first in line at every game. 6. You never carry out your threats of punishment
Positive discipline also involves appropriate punishment, when required.  If you find that you make regular threats but never actually carry them out, then your six-year-old will realise you are a soft touch, and that your warnings are hollow. 7. You allow her to be rude to you
Instead of reprimanding her for antisocial and impolite comments, you accept what she says without challenge, perhaps because you think she is being cute. Bear in mind, though, that although you may be tolerant of her rudeness, others won’t be so accepting of it. 8. She is allowed to break the rules all the time
Some people say that rules are made to be broken, but they are usually made to be observed. That’s why you need to encourage her to follow the limits you have set. A soft parent bends the rules so often that they become meaningless. 9. Every day is a “special occasion” Of course, there are days when normal discipline is interpreted more flexibly, for example, on her birthday, at a large family gathering, or during holidays. But these should be infrequent occurrences, not something that happens several times each week. 10. You buy her something every single shopping trip One of the delights of parenting is buying your child a special present – her reaction is heart-warming. However, these experiences become less important if they happen during every shopping expedition, and she will soon lose interest. (Photos: 123RF.com)

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