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3 ways to develop your kid’s leadership skills 

“Kids don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.” ~ Jim Henson

This quote shows that the American puppeteer & The Muppets creator was aware of children’s tendency to be the best learners and hence, the best leaders. Leadership for kids often seems too airy to be given serious thought. We think, “They’ll turn into great leaders for sure — eventually…” But as more studies show, the earlier kids are consciously taught leadership skills, the better — not just for their future selves but even for the present.

A Harvard Business Review article mentions a study that shows developing children’s leadership skills improves their academic performance. The study looked at hundreds of seventh-grade Chinese students who moved seven places up their class ranking after being randomly assigned classroom leadership roles.

With everyone’s dizzyingly fast-paced schedules, what are some intentional ways parents can teach their kids leadership? Here’s how to inspire your kids to lead in a way that doesn’t feel like a homework:

  • Set a good example

Children are sponges! They learn naturally by imitating the behavior of adults or people they look up to, especially their parents. According to an article by Michigan State University Extension, kids are taking in everything people around them do — from the way they talk to others to how they handle their emotions and stress. Start their leadership journey by showing them not just how you are as a parent but as a person. Remember, those little eyes are on you!

  • Let them have a voice

Teaching your children to be independent, make their own decisions, and solve everyday problems on their own are effective hands-on leadership-building activities. Make it a habit to offer two or three options for your child to choose from, to give him a sense of personal agency. It could be as simple as giving him the option of wearing his red sandals or his blue flip-flops to the beach. Teach them the basics of problem-solving by talking out potential thought processes with them.

  • Encourage them to work

Kids have the privilege of having tons of energy and creativity. And this makes them eager to work and expend their energy. Encourage them to go out and find something productive to do – be it learning how to build a model race car, babysitting the kid next door, or even helping out with household chores. Research on family education published by the University of Minnesota shows that kids who were assigned household chores early in life had a strong sense of “responsibility, competence, self-reliance, and self-worth that stays with them throughout their lives.” Should we say more?

What else can parents do to inspire them on their journey as “little leaders”? One way is to have them join workshops and classes that aren’t just fun but also transformational. The Center for Asia Leadership (CAL) is offering such a program, Little Leaders Lab 2019 designed for children aged 9 to 13, that will run in Sunway University, Kuala Lumpur. It is a great opportunity for your child to boost their creativity and improve their communication skills, giving them new and exciting platforms for self-expression.

Led by CAL’s latest batch of Teaching Fellows, kids will get the chance to develop the best of their child-like traits, such as curiosity, empathy and resourcefulness. During this program, young participants will learn a number of skills, such as:

  • Design thinking and creative confidence
  • Visualization to brainstorm ideas
  • Writing and reading comprehension skills

The program is split into two separate two-day programs:

Little Leaders Lab 2019 will help channel your child’s creative energies into truly meaningful projects and ideas. Design thinking and creative confidence are, in many ways, child’s play. Get ready because your little change-maker is on her/his way!

For more details, visit:

To apply, visit:

By Yu Qi Lee & Nirva Delacruz

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