Our world is evolving faster than ever, and preparing a child for that world that doesn’t yet exist is an exceptional challenge.
As part of the Foreign Service, our kids are already lightyears ahead of so many of their peers, but teaching them a few extra skills will give them an even bigger head start and make them better prepared for what’s to come in the New Year and beyond.
Here’s a breakdown of some important life skills to teach your kids in 2021, along with a few suggestions for how you can tie many of them to their academic life.
Don’t forget to join the Toolbox for Americans Abroad Facebook group for more tips and resources for FS kids!
1. Adaptability Last year showed us just how adaptable kids can be! It’s great for them to learn this skill at a young age. Research shows that kids who are highly adaptable tend to be happier in life, have higher self-esteem, have a deeper sense of purpose, be more driven, and feel more confident. You can teach kids adaptability by mirroring flexibility and introducing new routines and/or ideas to them regularly so they keep having to practice this skill.
2. Problem Solving Problem solving is a skill that helps kids develop discernment, creativity, resilience, confidence, and leadership. Almost every job application they’ll ever have to complete will require this skill. Playing games, giving kids room to make mistakes, and asking questions instead of answering them are all great ways to get kids to practice problem solving.
3. Communication Kids of the digital age are social by nature. They’re constantly communicating in several different media formats—texts, posts, chats, emails, you name it. Make sure they’re getting some face-to-face interactions in too, and always model respectful language and communication in your household.
4. Collaboration The world of the future (and even present day) is globalizing due to the internet. The ability to collaborate in these situations is essential. The simplest way to encourage collaboration is tackling projects as a family; getting your child involved in team and group activities helps them learn to collaborate with their peers as well!
5. Accountability Teaching accountability means teaching responsibility, honesty, and integrity. Online, independent learning (which most of our kids are currently very familiar with) is an excellent way to teach kids accountability; they learn the importance of intrinsic motivation and take responsibility for their own work and success.