Coach The Life Skill Spirit: How To Impart Vital Life Skills In Growing Children

Dr. Sujatha Varalwar, Health & Lifestyle CoachDr. Sujatha is a professional Pathologist, Health and Lifestyle Adviser (Coach) and a professional Nutrition Consultant.
The role of education is to prepare our future generations to take their rightful place in society as future learners, professionals and citizens. Yet, there is often a fundamental mismatch between the skills students are taught in classrooms and those they will need to function effectively in the wider world. Take for instance; a recent study conducted by a leading research company named YouGov found that less than one out of every five surveyed employers considered graduates as `work-ready'. To the contrary, most employers reported graduates as lacking key employ ability skills such as teamwork, communication and the ability to cope with pressure. In another survey, more than 60 percent of bosses claimed that graduates were unable to handle customers professionally, while 50 percent said that graduates were not equipped to independently take charge of their professional duties. This is worrying, because many of these skills are vital not just for our children to earn their place as competent professionals, but to take advantage of the many opportunities presented to them in the wider world. For far too long, students have been taught with an almost exclusively razor-sharp focus on exams, without due consideration to the kind of transferable skills they will need once they exit the world of academia.

With the world evolving faster, and workplaces be-coming more competitive than ever before, it becomes especially important for educators to equip students ­ especially those preparing to undertake further education or to enter the workforce ­ with key life
skills, so that they are better equipped to face the challenges that the future has in store for them. Key among these are -

• Seed Emotional Intelligence: Emotion-ally intelligent children eventually grow into well-adjusted, strong and self-aware adults. To teach your children emotional intelligence, begin by first acknowledging their perspective and communicating empathy, even if you do not necessarily agree. Accepting a child's emotions, rather than denying or minimising them, enables him/her to accept the emotion, resolve their feelings and move on. In the long term, this teaches children to self-regulate their own emotions and allows them to move-on to the next step, namely problem-solving.

A good way to inculcate critical-thinking skills in children is to regularly talk to them about topics that aren't restricted to their textbooks, and encourage them to share their views on current affairs & news

• Impart Critical Thinking: Facts and figures are important, but not enough for the bulk of children's education to be centred on memorising data. Children must also learn to think for themselves ­ to use evidence, logically evaluate available information, and form their own opinions. This will play a crucial role in their higher studies as well as their future careers. A good way to inculcate critical-thinking skills in children is to regularly talk to them about topics that aren't restricted to their textbooks, encourage them to share their views on current affairs & news, and look beyond headlines and investigate what they find. At the same time, encourage healthy debates, as this will improve your child's ability to reason.

• Improve Communication: Written and oral communication skills will eventually play a key role in every sphere of your child's life. Improve your child's written communication by encouraging them to participate in writing-based extracurricular activities. Oral communication can be strengthened with regular, consistent practice ­ have children discuss their problems with you, rather than only telling them how things should be done. Children also learn far more effectively from positive role models, which makes it vital for you to demonstrate your own communication abilities and freely discuss any communication challenges you may have faced.

• Teach Work Ethics: Good work ethics will prove to be a key differentiators for children as they mature into young adults. It is therefore important to never stop stressing on the importance of them performing any task they take-up to the best of their abilities. In school, this could mean sub-mitting projects & assignments on time, and making sure they prepare for tests & evaluations. Have children know that they must always strive to achieve what they are truly capable of, instead of making do with good.