Every parent wants to raise happy, successful kids. You may even hope that your child changes the world someday, or at least their corner of it. But raising kids who are willing to take risks, speak out, and stand up for what they believe in is harder than it sounds. That’s just one reason why Completely KIDS offers skill-building opportunities for teens and parents, but what if you want to start developing your child’s leadership skills from an earlier age? These resources help parents cultivate leadership skills in young children, so you raise kids destined to thrive.
Four leadership traits you’re never too young to learn
It may be a few years before you’re teaching your children about the art of persuasion or professional communication, but that doesn’t mean it’s too soon to impart lessons about leadership. Here are four leadership skills that kids can learn at any age.
- Courage: Children develop the courage to execute when parents encourage them to take risks and step outside of their comfort zone from an early age.
- Vigilance: It’s not enough to encourage kids to try new things. Parents should also prompt children to reflect on their experiences, successes, and failures. This practice nurtures self-awareness and vigilance in youth.
- Openness: Many children are naturally generous and compassionate. By encouraging these traits early on, you raise adults who understand the value of relationship-building.
- Integrity: The seeds of ethics are planted early in a child’s life when parents talk openly about their family’s values, expectations, and boundaries.
Parenting strategies for raising independent kids
Your child doesn’t need to understand abstract concepts like courage and integrity to model them. With these parenting strategies, you can instill leadership skills as early as the toddler years.
- Have a routine: When children’s lives are predictable, they feel confident and in control. By creating morning, mealtime, and bedtime routine for kids, you provide the stable foundation kids need to be independent.
- Encourage decision-making: Giving a toddler too many choices is a recipe for disaster, but that doesn’t mean parents should dictate everything. Letting children make small decisions teaches them to be comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions.
- Let kids help: It may be faster to do everything yourself, but parents who want to raise self-sufficient kids must provide kids with opportunities to lend a hand. When kids take on small roles at home, they gain more than skills — they gain confidence.
Three things parents do that kill kids’ confidence
If the right parenting strategies can raise future leaders, the wrong missteps can bring it all crashing down. These are the most common parenting mistakes that can hurt your child’s confidence, self-esteem, and leadership ability.
- Protecting them from mistakes: It’s not easy watching your child stumble, but errors are important learning opportunities for kids. Parents who rush to protect their children from failure raise kids who lack problem-solving ability.
- Expecting perfection: Most parents have high hopes for their children. However, it’s important to make sure your expectations are realistic and leave room for failure. Expectations that are too high can discourage kids from trying.
- Going too easy on them: That’s not to say parents shouldn’t have expectations at all! Children given age-appropriate responsibilities develop discipline, accountability, and self-esteem.
How to set a good leadership example for kids
As a parent, you’re the most important role model for your child. As a result, you have to do more than teach lessons about leadership — you have to live them too. These tips will help parents be better role models for their children.
- Be dependable: Reliable parents don’t just make children feel more secure about decision making; they also teach the importance of sticking to your word and honoring your obligations.
- Admit when you’re wrong: Everyone makes mistakes. What separates leaders is how they handle those mistakes. By admitting your missteps, you demonstrate that mistakes are something to learn from, not something to avoid.
- Take care of yourself: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of your health and reflect on your own leadership skills. Only when you’re doing your best can you give your best.
Your little one might not oversee much just yet, but it won’t be long before your toddler is all grown up. With these resources, you can be sure that you’re raising a child who grows up capable, confident, and ready to lead.