Soft skills versus hard skills

As a Swede living in the UK, I have encountered many things a long the way that are very different to Sweden. 

The major thing for me as a parent and now parent coach is how early our children start school in the UK. The majority of European countries has a school start age of six and some even seven.

We lived in Switzerland for the first years of my daughters schooling and they were 6 and 9 when we moved to the UK. My youngest daughter was in kindergarten in Switzerland and due to start school at 7. Arriving here, she could just about write her name. One school we contacted asked if she had learning difficulties as she couldn't read or write...

After a year of schooling, she had caught up with her school friends, not because she is exceedingly bright but because she was ready and eager to learn without feeling pressurised and stressed. However, where she was ahead of them was with her social skills, team skills and awareness of empathy. Empathy is what makes us aware of the feelings of others and when you're empathic, you're much less likely to hurt someone else's feelings. This is the bit she was taught at kindergarten and these are, in my opinion,  the soft skills that are missing early on here in the UK. The focus here is far too much on reading, writing and maths. We have children who simply aren't ready to learn in that way and need to play and be children. There are no statistics that show that UKs children are ahead and better educated than other countries. Quite the contrary!

I know the system in it self is hard to change but what we as parents can do is to help our kids develop the soft skills needed. Soft skills might include teaching kids to work cooperatively in a group or teaching them how to think about the long-term consequences when they make a decision, whereas teaching maths is an example of a hard skills. The importance of teaching self-control, social skills and empathy is immense! 

Research show that children who are taught the above skills are more likely to be kind and inclusive towards other children. This leads to them feeling good about themselves which improves their self-esteem. A win win situation!!

Do the best you can!!