Many parents want to raise children who are leaders. A child does not necessarily have to be Class President or Captain of a Sports team to be a leader. Sometimes leadership can be demonstrated in the child who chooses not to engage in gossip. In my opinion, children who are their authentic selves despite what others think are leaders.
I figure one way for a child to be a leader is through practice. It is also helpful when a parent creates a leadership environment within the home.
Check out the 5 Ways to Create a Leadership Environment for Kids at the bottom of this post!
At first, the age of five sounded like a good time to introduce the concept. However, most toddlers, start to show leadership skills around two when they know what they want to play with and explore. My decision was to meet my child where he was and start letting him lead me at the age of two. Of course, this was practiced in safe and controlled environments.
As soon as I take my son outside to play, he is the leader. He chooses whether he wants to walk or ride his scooter or bike. Once we get outside, he can choose to go left toward the blacktop where we play ball, blow bubbles, and draw with sidewalk chalk. In the right direction, there is a playground, nature trail, and grassy area for play. Wherever he goes I will follow him. He often looks back to ensure that I am behind him and then chuckles to himself.
Another time my son leads is when we play “Marching Band”. My friends gave him a Paw Patrol- Music Set which includes a tambourine, drum, Chinese drum, Clapper, and Castanets. We play the musical instruments to various songs while marching and dancing around the house. Along with choosing the type of music we listen to, my little one is the marching band leader. He may lead me dancing in the basement, kitchen, or living room.
Your children can learn a lot when you let them lead sometimes. Below is what I found…
Confidence and Trust
Letting a child lead gives them confidence because they are experiencing your trust. You are trusting in their ability to lead the way, make decisions, and communicate. As a parent, you give them credibility and are showing respect. They feel you are buying in to them and their choice of activity. They also feel that they are worthy to be leading you, an adult.
Use of Knowledge
In most cases, in order to led someone, you must have prior knowledge of the subject. In order to lead you on a walk around the neighborhood, a child must be familiar with their surroundings. Once knowledge is established, they can apply it to provide a better experience. For example, if a child is leading you toward a concrete play area, they may bring side walk chalk or a ball to make playtime fun.
In contrast, some kids may choose to lead even if they don’t have prior knowledge. Leaders who are not knowledgeable about a subject may surround themselves with experts in that field. Part of leadership is knowing when these opportunities arise. Children are excellent at detecting this! You are your child’s expert. You may build Legos with your child and they are leading you in building something that is familiar to them. What happens when they are building something for the first time? They either figure it out or they may ask for your help.
When to Lead
It is important to establish where your children can lead. For example, you probably don’t want your children leading in the grocery store or in an office building. Being a good follower makes a good leader. Your child follows you in the grocery store so one day they will independently go themselves or lead someone else while shopping. Being a follower is where the child will gain prior knowledge to guide or mentor others. Knowing when to lead helps the child with boundaries and to apply a new skill to help someone in the future.
As a parent, be a good follower occasionally. In doing so, your child may discover their interests, purpose, and passions!
Have fun following!
5 Ways to Create a Leadership Environment for Kids
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