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Why it’s important for children’s books to teach soft skills

Alex Chalmers
Head Of Communications

As parents, we want the best for our children, and for them to be the best they can be. We put our trust in the education providers that they’ll teach our children to the best possible standard and give them the start they need to succeed in life. However, we have a vital role to play too.

In their early years – at nursery and then at school – children are taught fundamental skills like language and mathematics. These are hard skills, which are well-defined and measurable. Soft skills, though, are much harder to teach and aren’t easily measurable. That’s where reading can really help.

Studies have shown that reading for pleasure can significantly improve a child’s development and educational performance. Not only does it benefit their language skills and increase their general knowledge, it can also improve their soft skills.

What are soft skills?

Soft skills are often called ‘people skills’ or ‘social skills’ – the kind of developmental abilities that are difficult to measure and aren’t directly taught – like confidence, empathy and teamwork. These social skills are vital for growth, development and future employment opportunities.

Children learn soft skills through mimicking behaviours they see portrayed by their parents or on TV. In many ways, they’re like sponges. They soak up everything around them as a way of learning and mimic what they see and hear.

Think about when you accidentally said a naughty word in front of your child and they picked up on it straight away, repeating it again and again.

Personalised children’s books

It’s the same when you read to your child. They can be transported from their own world to another, and throughout the story, they become immersed in the lives of the fictional characters, often mimicking them, while learning about other cultures and backgrounds at the same time.

With personalised books like Pibbon's, your child can see themselves in the story, which helps them relate to the emotions of the characters. This gives them a greater understanding of emotions, which can also help them understand their own emotions and those of others, significantly aiding their social development.

By exposing your child to other people’s lives – like the characters in a book – you can easily teach them how to be empathetic and considerate to those around them. Teaching your child to see things from another person’s perspective, helps them become more aware of the consequences of their actions. This, in turn, helps them grow to be more considerate and kind in the future.

Soft skills can be baked into books

Learning how to express themselves

Children find it hard to express themselves because they’re experiencing emotions that are unfamiliar to them. That’s why they often resort to stamping feet, crying and shouting when they’re upset. Reading allows your child to develop empathy as they experience the lives of other characters and identify with how they’re feeling. Children can then use this understanding to empathise with other people in the real world, while paying attention to their own actions and behaviours.

Talking to your child about why the character in a story behaved in a certain way or showed certain emotions can also really help them understand how to control their own behaviours and emotions. Getting under the skin of a character can aid their development and understanding of storytelling, which allows them to learn how to be creative and express themselves. This skill is key to learning the difference between fiction and reality. Children can learn how to react to real-life situations by first experiencing them through reading a book.

By reading to your child, you can provide them with a deep insight into the world and build their background knowledge. They can then use the background knowledge they’ve obtained to make sense of what they see, hear, and read, which aids their cognitive development.

Want your child to learn the key skills that will really help them in life? Download Pibbon today for absolutely free.

Published 06/12/2022