Most soft skills go hand in hand. When one is improved, a little bit of the other is improved as well. It is important to see soft skills as parts that support each other instead of individual skills. Our Home Grown Skills resources help young people explore several different soft skills together.
When we start to understand our own skills and strengths, we begin to develop self-awareness - the conscious knowledge of oneself, our own character, feelings, and desires. Improving self-awareness will help your child to recognise their strengths and areas for development, while boosting overall wellbeing.
Help your child to recognise their strengths
When a child shows interest in an activity, it often means that they have a strength related to it. Encourage your child to develop their strengths by doing activities that involve their interests such as reading about these topics or volunteering.
Do a “when I grow up” activity together:
Ask your child to draw a picture of who he or she would like to become when they grow up. Write a list of the talents they have and think about what they could do to become that person. While your child does this, you could do a “Now that I’m grown up, I am …” and show your child what talents you have and what you did to get to where you are now. This activity encourages them to follow their aspirations and recognise their strengths.
Adopt a strengths-based approach in your household. Start by completing the ‘What are my Strengths?’ exercise. Use this to regularly remind your child of their strengths and recognise times they demonstrate these. This can be a particularly useful tool to try and get used to using when your child presents challenging behaviour.
Create a daily emotion check-in time
Help your child to identify their emotions each morning. Take 5 - 10 minutes to check in with how they’re feeling. Encourage them to write in a journal to share how they are feeling. Getting in the habit of doing this helps your child to manage their emotions better and vocalise their feelings.
Help them to Develop a Growth Mindset
When your child is facing a challenge, encourage them to keep trying and use the skills they’ve got in order to overcome it. When your child says, “I can’t do it”, encourage them to instead say “I can’t do it yet” and get them to think about what they could do to achieve it. This is the beginnings of developing a growth mindset. By explaining that some things don't come easily, but by continuing to practise, they will eventually reach their goal.
Play a game where you compare yourselves to the animals and plants around you.
Enabling your child to explore the world around them can greatly improve their self-awareness. For example, you can say, “I can stand as straight as this tree, but I am short, so I can’t see what the tree can see.” This exercise promotes their observational skills and later on, they can apply these skills when interacting with others. Try encouraging them to recognise both similarities and differences.
We hope you enjoy this resource! This is part of our #HomeGrownSkills free resources to support young people's personal development and wellbeing at home. If you like them, please share it with anyone who might find it useful, and let us know on social media!