Our children are going to work and engage in a world that we cannot predict with any certainty. What we do know is that the skills that will be needed in the future work environment will be very different to those needed in the past. While skills like mechanics and accounting may suit the current job landscape, we know that these skills will in all likelihood be automated in the future.

Recent studies are showing that the core competencies of future players are soft-skills. These include the four C’s – critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration. These soft-skills will ensure that your child will be best prepared to engage in the work place and have successful and meaningful relationships.

Let’s look at how you can encourage the development of two 21st century soft skills:

Communication – being able to communicate is vital in any facet of life. Children who communicate well are often considered to be more intelligent and do better in tasks that require leadership and collaboration. To enhance communication skills, you can start by talking a lot to your child. Research has shown that the more a parent talks to her child, the higher the child’s verbal IQ and communication skills are. Read to your baby from a young age and use every opportunity to introduce your child to concepts. Toys such as the Fisher Price Record & Learn Microphone helps little ones to communicate and learn words, which they can then hear played back to them.

Critical thinking – being able to visualise a goal, plan a sequence of actions and act on this plan with flexibility is a vital 21st century skill. To encourage critical thinking, play with your child and ask him lots of questions as he plays. Set tasks such a building a fort or solving a puzzle or making something out of scrap materials. As your little one engages in these tasks he will learn to problem solve and come up with solutions – the early roots of critical thinking.

Through play, your little one will learn all the critical 21st century skills needed to succeed and engage in the world.