While some children might be natural-born leaders, all kids can develop leadership skills with the right guidance. According to the Penn State Extension Better Kid Care Program, teaching kids leadership skills can help boost self-esteem, improve communication skills, teach them to identify personal strengths and weaknesses and encourage them to learn how to work with others. Engage your children in activities regularly that emphasize and help them develop better leadership skills.
Talk to your kids about what leadership means. Work on a list of leadership traits, such as honesty, the desire to succeed, intelligence creativity, kindness and a being a role model. Write another list about things that leaders do that children can relate to, such as not following the crowd, standing up to bullies, doing the right thing and helping others. You might also want to check out the book "Being A Leader," by Robin Nelson, for kids ages 6 and older, which teaches kids how to be leaders at school and at home.
Compare famous leaders and talk about the traits that them good leaders, as well as their differences. Use kid-friendly books about leaders such as George Washington, Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman. Some books to check out include "Learning About Leadership from the Life of George Washington," by Kiki Mosher, which provides clear examples of leadership, and "Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad," by Ann Petry, which details Tubman's brave work leading slaves to freedom. If your children are old enough to write, have them write a paragraph on each famous leader and how they demonstrated leadership.
Play a Leadership Game
Invite your children's friends over to play a game that emphasize leadership skills. Place old paper grocery bags in various places on the ground. When you play music, the kids are to dance around the bags. When you stop the music, give a five second countdown and everyone must be on a bag. After each round, take two bags away. The kids must make sure that everyone is on a bag or everyone is out. Watch for any natural leaders to take charge and give orders or ideas to ensure that everyone is on a bag, suggesting ideas like tearing open the bags to make them bigger. Discuss the solutions the kids came up with at the end of the game.
Give the kids alternate universe scenarios where they must make important leadership decisions. For instance, you might give them a scenario where they are shipwrecked on an island and must find a way to survive until help arrives. They must also determine how they will get food, protect themselves from the elements, wild animals and living with the native population. Give the kids 10 minutes to individually decide what decisions they would make if they had to lead the shipwrecked crew, then have everyone share their ideas. Allow the kids to discuss decisions they don't agree on. Leaders also need to learn to compromise. Encourage the kids to work together and try to come up with some decisions they can agree upon.
- Being A Leader; Robin Nelson
- Learning About Leadership from the Life of George Washington; Kiki Mosher
- Harriet Tubman: Conductor on the Underground Railroad; Ann Petry
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