These 6 Skills Help Children Become Successful

July 9th 2016

Raising a child to be successful seems like a Herculean task. Where do you even start?

A new book, “Becoming Brilliant: What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children,” written by developmental psychologists Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Golinkoff, is designed to provide parents, educators, and caregivers a new framework to help them cultivate the skills necessary to successfully raise a child.

According to Hirsh-Pasek, the agenda in education has centered too much on math and reading readiness and the ability to recite back facts. In an interview with ATTN:, Hirsh-Pasek said:

"If our goal is to raise responsible citizens, then just creating robots who can just spit back facts at a time period in our history where robots will always be better than [us] – faster, more efficient, and able to work 24/7 — maybe it's time to rethink what counts as success in the modern era. If you're going to be prepared for the jobs of tomorrow you better be a flexible creative thinker today."

Here are the six C's – the skills that children need to develop in order to succeed:

1. Collaboration

Collaboration is the fundamental foundation on which the other five skills are built, Hirsh-Pasek explained. "Collaboration is learning how to have relationships with other people, from creating communities and bonds to having the social emotional control to not clobber a kid when you want the toy he has to learning how to work in teams."

2. Communication

Whether verbal or nonverbal, communication helps children understand the contents of someone else's mind. "It's about reading, speaking, and listening, [which is] a lost art in the world of Facebook." Hirsh-Pasek said.

3. Content

Content is built on collaboration and communication. Hirsh-Pasek said that this skill is "about learning to learn, being a flexible thinker, and grooming your attention so you can focus on the right stuff."

4. Critical thinking

"Critical thinking is about learning how to navigate the contents of what you learn so you can tell what's important and what isn't," Hirsh-Pasek said.

5. Creative innovation

Hirsh-Pasek described this skill as the ability to take information you have and assembling it in new ways to solve a problem.

6. Confidence

According to Hirsh-Pasek, this skill is necessary to take safe risks. "Confidence is the persistence and mindset to continue through the hardship and take an intellectual or physical risk that means sometimes you'll fail, but when you fail, you will learn from it," she explained.

These concepts may sound familiar, but Hirsh-Pasek asserts they are all integrated and build on one another in a systemic way. She adds it was also important for the authors to present skills that parents could use no matter their country, their culture, or their income level.

"[The set of skills] was meant to be a way to illuminate the learning possibilities everywhere and allow you to go in, evaluate, and ask 'How can I build an environment that is richer at having opportunities?'" Hirsh-Pasek said.

A recent NPR article on "Becoming Brilliant" describes the following scenario as an opportunity to encourage children to develop those skills:

"'Why are traffic lights red, yellow and green?'

"When a child asks you a question like this, you have a few options. You can shut her down with a 'Just because.' You can explain: 'Red is for stop and green is for go.' Or, you can turn the question back to her and help her figure out the answer with plenty of encouragement."

In the interview, Hirsh-Pasek names several other situations in which parents can encourage the development of those skills in their children, from children picking out their clothes to going to the doctor's office.

"There's not a parent in the world — at least I haven't met a parent like that — who isn't excited about the possibility of their child reaching their fullest potential," she said.

[h/t NPR]

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