Essential skills all teenagers should learn
to succeed in life
Essential skills all teens should have
Statistically, by the time the children are around 8 years old, a major development age for children, most kids have either caught up or slowed down in their learning, with 80% of the class now placed somewhere in the middle. There will always be the top 10% who excel and the bottom 10% who require extra assistance.
Regardless of where your teenager sits academically, there are some essential skills each child should learn to be successful at school and especially in life. Feeling like you are successful in life includes areas such as socially, emotionally, academically and mastering life skills.
The list of essential skills can be expanded, but here are 5 essential skills every child needs to learn at school:
- Concentration. This essential skill will stay with you for your entire life and can be difficult to learn. When the brain is immature, so too is the ability to stay focused for long periods of time. Like any skill in life, practising is the only way to improve concentration. Schools support this skill every day but to master the skill of concentration, it is important to practice at home too. Start small and with no distractions. Here are some easy ways to strengthen your teen’s attention span:
- Create a distraction list. Whenever you are studying or working and your mind decides you need to know who the tallest man in the world is, start a list of distractions you will search up later. This stops internet surfing to distract you.
- Increase focus strength gradually. Just like when you are developing any skill, it is a gradual process. Time your focus period. Begin with 10 minutes and each day slowly increase.
- Try memorising things. This is like exercise for the brain.
- Time management. Many people sign at time management but it is vital to understand and learn at a young age. Most of us claim to be time poor but if we worked on time management skills, we would uncover many hours of wasted time. Teaching children the essential ability to manage their time, increases independence and responsibility, allowing for better decisions to be made. Knowing how to prioritise tasks, determining how long each task will take to complete, helps keep stress levels low. Here are a few top tips to time management:
- Give your teenager time management tools such as a diary or download apps for their phone.
- Be the right role model. If you are always late or missing deadlines, this becomes their norm. Work on your time management skills to help back up your children.
- Encourage your teen to develop routines. These routines should include morning routines to allow maximum sleep (very important). After school routines. Sports based routines. Study routines.
- Resilience. Unfortunately, life can be cruel and things don’t always turn out the way we expect them to. Teaching teenagers how to handle disappointment, turn a negative into a positive and the essential skill of defending themselves, build resilience and gives the skills to cope with life. Resilience is about overcoming adversity and the ONLY way to learn how to overcome adversity is to actually experience it. Protecting avoids teaching the skills to work through it. Here are a few quick tips:
- Teach your teenager that life is not fair. If they can understand this at an early age, they are less likely to blame other people when things go wrong in their life.
- Self-respect is the building block of resilience. Knowing you will always have your own back, even when you make mistakes, helps teenagers build strength in themselves and what they can achieve.
- Learn how to take control of your life. When we blame, we hand over all the control to someone else. By taking back control, we can make clearer and more positive decisions.
- The art of conversation. This essential skill every teenager needs to succeed in life and can be very challenging, even for adults. If children can learn from a young age how to make small talk, to read people’s body language and to really listen to what is being said, they will always hold the advantage. With technology taking over many lives, the art of conversation is dying and is an essential life skill that needs to be learnt early on in life. Here are a few quick tips:
- The power of questions. The easiest way to start and continue any conversation is to ask good questions. Try to avoid too many questions that require a ‘yes’ ‘no’ answer. A good question can steer a conversation in any direction and the bonus will be you will learn something interesting about the other person.
- Listening is more important than speaking. Often we think we are listening but many of us are just listening so we can have our say too. When you learn to listen, this is how you find the questions to ask. Listening also develops concentration skills, time management skills and resilience skills. So why wouldn’t you listen?
- Be interested in what is happening around you. Lift your head from technology deliberately and become more aware of your surroundings. This is a great learning tool in itself.
- Manners. This skill has never gone out of fashion and hopefully never will. A simple please and thank you is a fantastic place to start. The smart people in life (and again I’m not talking academically) understand that you are more likely to get what you want when you use your manners. here are a few quick tips:
- Be a role model first. You cannot expect your teen to use manners if you are not strong in this area.
- With manners comes respect. Respect should be given to all ages but it should also be received. Respect those older than you but also share the same courtesy to those younger than you and it will be returned to you.
- Understand the benefits of good manners. If your teenager doesn’t want resistance, then manners help remove it. You are more likely to get what you want in life when manners are a natural part of your day.