Age-wise Games To Promote Leadership Skills In Your Child
Here are some fun ways you can teach your child an essential skill -- how to be an effective leader. Read on to know more.
By Hannah S Mathew
American scholar, organisational consultant and author Warren Bennis once said, “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” You and your child have probably come across the subject of leadership and how developing effective leadership skills helps in various areas of life. Whether it’s strategic planning, communicating a plan, working in a team or helping someone out, these skills are essential in leading a fulfilling life. Here are some age-wise activities for your child to help him develop leadership skills.
Games to build confident leaders
1. SIMON SAYS...: Write down the name of each family member on a piece of paper and place the slips in a bag. Draw out a name in random and the person whose name is on the paper is ‘Simon’ for the next five minutes. Whatever ‘Simon’ says has to be carried out by the others. The only condition is that ‘Simon’ has to say, “Simon says,” before giving instructions. Simon’s instructions can range from “Simon says touch your toe” to “Simon says clear your desks.” Continue the activity until everyone in the family has had a chance to be ‘Simon’.
- Lesson learnt: The activity will allow your child to observe others in leadership roles, be a leader for a short while and also learn to be a follower.
For primary schoolers
2. LISTEN TO ME, PLEASE: Involve the whole family in this game. A parent can act as the source of information and the child can be the messenger. A simple role-play to make this activity interesting would be to pretend that the parent is the king and the child is the minister. The ‘king’ must give instructions to the family, one member at a time, through the ’minister’. The minister must politely request the family member to comply. For every time the minister is disobeyed, your child can say aloud, “Listen to me, please.” After the third time a family member has been told, “Listen to me, please,” the family member has to switch places with the minister.
- Lesson learnt: Being polite, making requests and being assertive are desirable qualities that boost a child’s confidence. These qualities can be taught through this game.
3. AM I BEING CLEAR?: Prepare jumbled lists of instructions for your child. The instructions can be on ‘how to operate a blender’ or ‘how to prepare a speech’ or ‘how to cook upma’ or anything else that you can think of. Jumble the order of the steps in the set of instructions. Ask your child to try and arrange the instructions in the correct order. You can also mention a task and ask your child to come up with a set of instructions for it. Encourage her to have an alternative set of steps, in case the first one doesn't work out.
- Lesson learnt: This game can help your child learn organisation skills, how to strategise and be spontaneous.
Games to build communicative leaders
1. THE STORY STICK: Engage the help of your preschooler and make a magical story stick. Wrap an old wooden ladle with gift paper and add beads and sparkles to it to make the story stick attractive. Say a few magical words before you begin the game to make it seem like the story stick has some special powers. Get your family or your kid’s friends together in a circle. Explain to them that you will begin a story, while holding the story stick, and pass it on to the next person, so he could continue with the story. Only the one who holds the stick can speak. Ensure that the story does not end abruptly or too soon by taking the stick to create a new twist in the plot.
- Lesson learnt: Along with communication skills, your child will learn how to be creative and wait for her turn.
For primary schoolers
2. ROAR: Prepare a list of circumstances where your child can speak up. Here’s a sample: “A man in a dark T-shirt is trying to break into a building. You see this from the window in your room. What would you do?” Ask your child to close his eyes and pretend to be the fiercest of wild animals. He might choose to be a tiger or a gorilla. Now, ask him to make a sound like the animal to scare away the intruder.
- Lesson learnt: Through this activity, your child learns to express himself loudly, without fear.
3. AM I DOING ALRIGHT?: This game can be about any theme. It could involve any activity your child did in the house or at school. Ask her to calmly think about her actions to check if she’s been sincere with her work.
- Lesson learnt: This activity involves self-reflection. Use leading questions to help your child make a fair evaluation of himself. The bonus is he will learn more about himself.
Games to build organised leaders
1. AM I A GOOD ORGANISER?: This game is every parent’s dream come true! Turn organising your child’s wardrobe, stationery or toys into a fun game. Give him colour-coded labels and help him make alphabetised lists. Now give him an hour to figure out where he wants to place what. Allow him to label the place and then he can place things in their labelled places.
- Lesson learnt: This activity will teach your child the importance of being organised.
For primary schoolers
2. PLAN TO DEPLANE: Put together an airline steward’s uniform, complete with tin-foil wings and an orange life-jacket (You can cut out an orange plastic or paper bag). Indulge in some role-play and explain to your child that her flight has landed in shallow water in the middle of nowhere and that the rescue crew will take a few hours to arrive. She has to, single-handedly, help the passengers deplane and move to safety. Ask her to plan the evacuation.
Give her pertinent questions like ‘Who gets to leave first?’, ‘Who must leave last?’, ‘What will you do for food?’ or ‘Should the stronger people be given tasks different from those who are not as strong?’
- Lesson learnt: This activity will teach your child how to think critically and on her feet.
3. HELP THE BLIND: Blindfold yourself or another family member. Your child should lead the blindfolded person around obstacles in the house by giving instructions. Make sure to remove sharp and fragile objects from the direct path of the duo. Let your child also take turns being blindfolded so that he can understand how it feels to be directed or misdirected based on complete trust.
- Lesson learnt: Your child will learn to give directions as well as put his faith in someone and follow directions given to him.
Leadership is all about setting an example for others to follow. Unless certain qualities are instilled in your child, she cannot do her best as a leader. So, teach her an essential skill with these fun games!
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