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Soft Skills: How to develop these skills in children

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Do you know what soft skills are? They are essential tools for socio-emotional development and will be of great use at all stages of a person’s life.

This is a recurring expression not only in the corporate world but in all sectors of daily life and must be understood in the learning process of children from the early years of school education.

What soft skills are?

Soft skills are skills related to human behavior, and directed to emotional and social issues, improving the personality of each individual. 

By working on soft skills in the education of children from the early grades, they can learn to interact with others in a proactive, creative, and empathetic way naturally.

In this way, soft skills seem just natural abilities of individuals, and if he/she doesn’t have them, he/she won’t be able to develop them.

However, this idea applies in parts to soft skills, as they can be developed from a good orientation. 

On the other hand, some people are born with specific behavioral skills. After all, everyone knows someone who seems to have been born with great communicative ability, an enormous gift for leadership, or even an enormous ability to listen to others and help with their immediate needs.

How do soft skills work?

Bearing in mind that some people are simply born with socio-emotional skills, we can be led to think that there is no way to learn these skills.

If you thought that way, I have great news, especially if you want your children to develop these skills.

In a school environment that works on the development of these skills in a light and fun way, children are awakened to act in situations by applying soft skills.

Let’s exemplify this situation of development and improvement of skills, thinking, for example, that if some child has difficulty speaking in public, he/she should be encouraged for this process, acquiring the confidence to do so in a welcoming environment. 

The opposite of this situation could also be applied to a child who tends to monopolize situations, attracting all attention to him/herself; if he/she is placed as a helper, he/she can learn to develop empathy as a positive social-emotional tool, and also learn to lead in partnership with peers.

What is the difference between soft skills and hard skills?

Before continuing talking about soft skills, we must understand that there is another expression that deals with skills and development, however, as the meaning of the expression points out, hard skills are related to the technical skills that a person has mastered. 

The biggest difference between soft skills and hard skills is perhaps the ability to certify hard skills, while soft skills are noted for the way people live together. Thus, hard skills arise from the search for professional degrees, being applied for this purpose in resumes and job interviews, for example. 

Meanwhile, soft skills are skills that promote a greater range of practical applications, being directly related to good relationships between people.

Check out the soft skills that can make all the difference in a person’s life and remember that your child can start developing them from an early age, even in their first school experiences:

  • Control of emotions
  • Creative thinking
  • Collaborative attitude
  • Good communication
  • Listen carefully
  • Time management

How to develop these skills in children? Check out 3 tips to encourage this process:

In the first contact with colleagues and teachers, the school environment provides situations and directions that increasingly improve the development of soft skills in children.

A recurring question is: how are these skills worked during classes? 

When the school is concerned with forming global citizens, the teaching methodology encompasses strategies that collaborate with the social and individual formation of each child. 

In the school environment, these skills are practiced through common events. We can mention 3 tips on how to encourage the development of these skills in the school environment.

See the list and find out how to apply each of them in everyday classroom life:

1. Promotion of interaction between children;

2. Understanding and respect for diversity;

3. Reinforcement of self-esteem and self-knowledge.

1. Promoting interaction between children

Early childhood education is a significant social interaction contact for children. In this environment, they demonstrate the first traits of their personality.

Some children have an uninhibited profile, focusing the attention of the environment on themselves, which allows teachers to direct a learning process of sharing this attention without influencing the personality.

On the other hand, children with a more intimate profile are quickly noticed and should be encouraged to develop communication skills.

The promotion of this interaction between children generates a balance. The school environment provides the necessary reflection for the construction of this learning.

2. Understanding and respect for diversity

Developing these skills is an ongoing process. If socialization is a guarantee for children, this will allow them to know, understand and respect diversity based on social experiences, living with other children and adults who do not belong to their family cycle, thus increasing social security and knowledge about him/herself and other people.

In this way, understanding and respect for diversity are linked to the ability to dialogue that the child acquires within the process of developing soft skills. Through the management of their emotions, they are able to show, above all, affection towards themselves and others.

3. Reinforcement of self-esteem and self-knowledge

We live in constant transformation and in the midst of all the changes we face throughout life, we have the need to turn to ourselves for some period and find our true selves.

Thus, self-knowledge is directly linked to the ability to develop self-esteem. In relation to the child, the construction of self-esteem and self-knowledge help to promote a secure identity, to know their limitations and physical, social, and emotional potential. 

Thus, a child’s physical potential can be worked on when he/she awakens an interest in a sport or even develops musical ability. 

The social potentialities are related to the interactions that he/she performs in the environments using the knowledge of the world that he/she constantly acquires.

Their emotional abilities gain more and more meaning as feelings are clarified and they understand that everything they feel is part of our nature.

Advantages of developing soft skills in early childhood education

We can point out some of the main advantages perceived in children who have an education aimed at the development of soft skills. 

Among these advantages we can list:

  • Cooperation
  • Empathy
  • Creativity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Communication 

Cooperation can be perceived in the child from situations such as: helping a colleague who could not find certain material to perform the task suggested by the teacher for that moment; or even through companionship in the games, giving the place for the other to play, giving away the favorite toy, understanding that sharing is also cooperating.

In a practical way, empathy is putting yourself in the other’s shoes, especially in unfavorable situations. Observing children, we realize that they can understand each other’s feelings and this can be cultivated in a beneficial way.

Keeping the dialogue with the child and explaining why situations can generate a feeling of empathy from understanding. Thus, we can help children to be more empathetic, caring about the well-being of others in a respectful way. 

Being a good example of empathy is the most efficient way to demonstrate the good result generated by empathy. 

Creativity is a skill that children end up teaching adults. It seems that throughout life we lose the ability to be creative, to reinvent things, or to transform situations. With children, this is natural and can be improved in the school environment with targeted play activities. 

When it comes to emotional intelligence, let’s say that we are also left behind, as children have a capacity to forget and move on that is rarely seen in adults. 

Communication is an improved skill at school, being directed so that children learn that it takes place in different ways and that the most efficient is listening to the other and then expressing their own opinion; in addition to communication, to awaken the idea of respect, the speech of colleagues, as well as that of the teacher. 

From an early age, children learn to raise their hands to speak in the school environment and this generates the perception of the existence of dialogues as healthy and effective forms of communication. 

If you want to have your child in an environment favorable to the development of these socio-emotional skills, from the construction of a globalized education focused on the child’s personal growth, come and visit St. Nicholas School.

School is an extremely important environment to provide personal development tools that children will apply throughout their lives, managing their emotions and understanding the world with respect, empathy, and proactivity. 

I invite you to visit St. Nicholas School, the best private children’s school in São Paulo, with an international teaching proposal, focused on your child’s individual development.

Click here to get your child admitted to St. Nicholas School right now!


  • St Nicholas

    St. Nicholas School is a school with an international education with the aim of developing responsible, confident and caring citizens. Teaching students to ask the right questions, to get to the right places for them. You can find St. Nicholas School in Pinheiros and Alphaville.