When I was a tween/teen, my parents insisted we had jobs. I can still remember valuable lessons I learned as a babysitter (other parents DO allow sugar cereals!), a cashier (and candy bar organizer and post-shift vacuum girl), a waitress (people other than me are picky in restaurants, but the customer is ALWAYS right), an intern (too much to list here), and more. Not only did I appreciate the value of my own paycheck, but I learned valuable people and customer service skills that led me to want to have my own businesses. Thanks to Freelance Writer Amy Williams for this guest post about how important job skills are for kids. She has some great ideas on how to increase your kids’ “job fluency” in a variety of areas. – Amy Smith
Guest Post by Amy Williams
It’s no secret we want our kids to be successful in life. Plus, we naturally want to reduce the likelihood our kids will live in our basement after college. Unfortunately, kids don’t come pre-programmed with the soft-skills or job-readiness skills needed to be successful. This makes it imperative we empower kids with tools for success today, by teaching job skills they will need for tomorrow.
As parents, we owe it to our kids to teach motivation, flexibility, teamwork, negotiation, responsibility, respect, confidence, and more. If we do our job successfully, our boys and girls will be able to function individually and in group settings in any job position. After all, our kids will not be able to thrive and function as adults if they aren’t able to show up on time, get along with others, communicate, be respectful, and speak for themselves.
Thankfully, we don’t have to resign ourselves to never being empty nesters, we have the ability to teach our sons and daughters the job skills needed in life.
Instill common etiquette and manners. Teach kids basic etiquette and manners to help them succeed with any job. Model and teach appropriate ways to greet people, maintain eye contact, say “please” and “thank you”, chew with their mouth closed, and more. Show off their manners with a meal at a nice restaurant to practice.
Teach digital citizenship. Today, more than ever, employers and even colleges are reviewing our kids’ social media and online activity. Teach children how to behave online and periodically have a kid review his or her digital footprint to remove potentially offensive or inappropriate material.
Roleplay to teach socially acceptable behaviors. First, choose a following skill: communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, time management, respect, confidence, networking, stress management, interviews, responsibility, listening, counting back change, presentation skills, patience, and other necessary job skills. Next, have the child explain and model the skill two ways: the “right” way and the “wrong” way.
Practice listening skills. The ability to listen to employers and customers is invaluable. Strengthen a child’s listening skills by playing games where they carefully listen and repeat what someone else is saying.
Prepare for interviews. Help kids prepare for job interviews by discussing the importance of appropriate clothing, teaching how to sit properly, practicing the art of a good handshake, powering down phones while having conversations, and maintaining eye contact. Make it a point to ask common questions that require children to talk about himself in a positive light so they can highlight their positive attributes.
What activities have you used to teach kids job skills? Add a comment to this post…
Amy Williams is a freelance journalist based in Southern California and mother of two. As a parent, she enjoys spreading the word on positive parenting techniques in the digital age and raising awareness on issues like cyberbullying and online safety. @AmyKWilliams1