The Importance of Teaching Your Kids Job Skills

kid mowing lawn

Do you remember the thrill of working and earning your own money when you were a kid?

The chances are pretty high that you enjoyed getting that first babysitting gig, setting irrigation pipes, or lawn mowing job- even if it meant a little work and sacrifice on our part. Now today, as parents, we naturally want our sons and daughters to develop a strong work ethic so they can grow, thrive, and be successful without our help when they are adults. This process involves a lot of patience, love, and actually teaching our kids job skills.

Important Reasons We Need To Teach Kids Job Skills

With today’s new law requirements for hiring teens, busy extracurricular schedules, and schools’ primary focus on reading, writing, and math, many of our children aren’t gaining valuable job skills. While a solid education foundation is needed to succeed, research and employers are finding kids need “soft” skills (job-readiness skills). The job skills employers tend to value are motivation, confidence, negotiation, respect, responsibility, flexibility, teamwork, grit, and more. That leaves it up to us, to teach our kids the ins and outs of social and emotional learning that go hand-in-hand with job skills. Some things just can’t be taught from a book and job skills need to be developed.

To compound these matters, we also need to prepare our kids for jobs that aren’t even known today. With all of the advancements and changes in our workforce, we can’t really predict what jobs will be available in the future. In fact, 85 percent of the jobs we’ll see in the year 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. So, that makes it paramount that we teach our kids job skills that will help them succeed in any career field, today and tomorrow.

While there are plenty of jobs available now, many of the applicants aren’t qualified or unable to hold down a job. There are a lot of misconceptions about our children’s generation and their work ethic, but a significant factor in all this could be due to the fact that we aren’t teaching children vocational or manufacturing skills. Take for instance, 75 percent of these jobs don’t need a four-year college degree and pay equal or better than ones that do require that signed diploma. However, many of our children don’t know how to use tools, weld, and more.

8 Tips to Grow Job Skills in Children and Teens

Having good job skills might just make the difference between success or failure for our kids. Afterall, they will not be helpful or productive if they are unable to communicate, get along with others, speak up for themself, and take responsibility for their choices. Thankfully, we don’t have to resign ourselves to a future where our boys and girls live in our basements until they are 40. With a few mindful choices and parental guidance, we can foster job skills in our kids so they can navigate a working environment and have a positive experience.

Please scroll through the following tips to teach our kids valuable job skills by helping them:

Think like an entrepreneur.

Today’s career experts suggest that we tell our kids to think long-term as an entrepreneur and regard their career as a business. They need to be aware of their talents and be willing to adapt to changing demands.

Understand the role of digital citizenship.

Our kids are the first generation of digital natives, but they still might not have mastered proper digital etiquette. Employers often review social media accounts before hiring. Kids need to understand acceptable online behaviors and periodically review their digital footprint to keep embarrassing or offensive material off their pages.

Be SMART.

Use this acronym to help kids remember important job skills, such as:

  • Say please and thank you.
  • Make friends and be thoughtful.
  • Arrive on time, prepared, and ready to work.
  • Respect yourself and others.
  • Try your best!

Develop communication skills.

Kids need basic job skills like shaking hands, powering down cellphones when conversing with someone, maintaining eye contact, speaking clearly, and appropriate responses to questions. Make it a point to get kids speaking and let them practice.

How to handle money.

Many first jobs involve handling money and cash transactions. Instruct them in the proper way to count back change and figure basic money without calculators or cash registers.

Learn manners.

Teach kids manners and basic etiquette so they will be successful employees with any job.

Practice soft skills.

Job-readiness skills, such as: communication, respect, interviews, teamwork, problem-solving, critical thinking, time management, responsibility, listening, confidence, stress management, presentation skills, and patience are important. Explain, discuss, and model these skills with your kid.

Instill grit.

Adversity is a given in life, and successful people know how to persevere. Encourage kids to find ways to overcome problems and keep trying.  

How do you teach your children job skills?