Are you a parent or guardian to a school-aged child? Are you concerned about how you can help them be well-prepared for the future?
There are simple ways you can encourage your child to develop important skills at home, such as problem-solving, self-confidence and teamwork, that can help them advance their potential. With the right foundation, children can more effectively attain success in the long run.
There is more to learning than simply academics! From their nation-wide survey, Primrose Schools found that hiring managers in the United States valued “key executive function skills” (i.e. critical thinking, teamwork, self-control, adaptability, problem-solving and memory power) more than technical abilities, academic background and others in entry-level candidates. While children develop these skills through collaborative activities in school, parents can inspire such learning at home as well; the knowledge of such skills not only can help them in their everyday lives, but also perhaps, help them one day, to proactively explore career opportunities that don’t even exist today.
Children collaborate with peers in different aspects of their lives, and continue to do so as they grow older. For effective teamwork, be it in school group projects, or their future workplaces as adults, children benefit from practicing skills such as: healthy communication through articulate language and listening, and creatively building upon ideas with teammates.
At uncertain times such as now, parents can play the role of teachers and guide their children to develop and strengthen their teamwork capabilities at home as well. For example, you could play a game that requires you and your child to work together. Make up the beginning of a story and then ask your child what happens next. Have a good time, making sure both you and your child take turns to build up on each other’s ideas! It is important that you, as your child’s role-model, actively listen and articulately speak to your children so that they learn to do the same.
Developing problem-solving skills early in life can help children become more successful adults. Join in with your children when they solve puzzles and play games that involve creativity or building things. For example, when your child plays with blocks, ask him/her if they want to build a garage for their miniature toy cars or a shed for their horses. You can ask open-ended questions like “How many cars is your garage going to fit?” or “Oh, that’s a lot of horses! How long and how tall would the shed have to be?” Working through the logistics of such questions can push your child to problem-solve through critical thinking and teamwork, while also having fun!
Children’s working memory does more than just help them remember information. It gives them the ability to put the information to effective use, like following guidelines, adhering to rules and completing multi-step tasks.
Help your child build working memory by trying out these activities/games:
- Say, you go out with your child to buy them their favourite treats or toys, challenge them to add up the costs of their items before your family reaches the checkout counter. If their answer matches with the bill, they sure deserve a high-5!
- Do yoga or meditate with your child for 10 mins, every weekend. Evidence shows that practicing mindfulness and meditation helps improve concentration skills.
- Discuss your child’s favorite characters and scenes from a movie you just watched together
While our abacus training program at AbacusMaster Canada helps children to become math geniuses, it is also a great way they can acquire problem-solving, critical thinking and memory skills. Our “abacus way” of arithmetic provides students with both rules and space for creativity to add, subtract, multiply and divide!
The skills students learn at abacus can be reinforced at home through fun activities and interactions with parents at home. We use arithmetic in our daily lives, such as when we want to double a cookie recipe, buy furniture that properly fits in a particular spot, or properly divide our halloween candy amongst siblings! Not only can you encourage learning through purposeful guidance and working together as a family, you can also relate the usage of “boring” school concepts like arithmetic to real life and thus, encourage learning outside of school even through normal, at-home activities!
Sharmila Suresh is the Program Director and an Abacus instructor for over 3 years. Her philosophy is to create an environment that fosters the importance of learning and a strong work ethic. She is very passionate and teaches from the heart while allowing students to discover their abilities and mould them into confident individuals.