Kids are naturally superb at reading people. Their minds are like sponges soaking in everything around them. They are always watching others around them. When they interact, they see a lot of the little expressions that adults miss out on. They might not always know what they are experiencing, but they absorb it nonetheless.
Parents who shield their kids from talking to strangers are diluting this childhood talent. They don’t let them experience all the little nuances that occur when talking to someone, and instead put them in front of TV screen. TV can be entertaining and educational, but your kid can’t interact with the TV. Over time these kids start losing their natural talent for observing people. They become quiet and reserved. They avoid interaction because it is strange and uncomfortable to them. They crave the familiar TV experience where life moves on without their input.
We aren’t about letting life pass us by at Alpha Kids.
Social interaction is key for children to grow up and become successful. Not only does it need to happen with kids their own age, but they need to learn how to work with older generations as well. You can start by encouraging your kid to talk to strangers while you are around. Have them talk to the car mechanic, the grocery clerk, the store owner.
Host a party at your house and have your child answer the door and be the host. Have them take people’s coats, chat them up, and introduce them to other party goers. Don’t worry if your child says something embarrassing or awkward. They’re still new to how it all works. They’ll learn from these mistakes and become 100 times better the next go around.
Your kids are more influenced by strangers than by you. Economists like Steven Levitt from freakonomics have discussed this issue to endless bounds. Parents have a significant, but fractional role in their child’s development. Their peers, other adults, and life experiences are more influential than you will ever be. Especially for the working parents, you just aren’t around your kid more than they are around these other things.
Start finding strangers that would make good role models, and will help bring out the best in your kid. Letting your kid loose around hardworking and charismatic people is a sure fire way for them to learn to develop these skills. The more successful people you get them around, the more successful habits will rub off on them.
The most common skill of all successful entrepreneurs is their ability to communicate. Tim Ferriss of the Four Hour Work Week points out that every entrepreneur he has invested in has been a great communicator. Your child’s success later in life goes hand in hand with their ability to communicate with others effectively. They need to feel comfortable in social settings. They need to be confident in their skills. They need you to push them into unfamiliar social interactions now so they know how to handle them later.