Must-Have Skill for Children #18: Giving Advice

Children often find themselves only on the receiving end of lessons, instruction, and advice. While this is great because it shows that there is always more to learn, they also need reminders that they have already learned and grown a lot. It’s important they are able to reflect and see their progress, so they can recognize what’s working for them.

Flipping the switch and putting children in the role of mentorsteachers, and role models can do a world of good for them. That’s why giving advice is our Must-Have Skill for Children this month! Here’s what you can expect to see in your child with this practice.

Confidence Boost

Researcher Lauren Eskreis-Winkler is leading the research into how giving advice can help children with their confidence, motivation, and results. What she noticed is that becoming the person who gives advice results in a boost in confidence:

“The notion that suddenly you’re put in a position where someone asks if you have useful information and presumes that you do, that could raise your confidence. The act of giving advice forces you to focus on the things that you already know how to do versus things you don’t, the things that are in your control versus the things that aren’t.”

Children may feel disheartened about how “little” they know, so it’s good to remind them also of how “much” they know and what they have learned throughout the process. Asking them for advice or putting them in a position in which they give others advice will boost their confidence and trust in their abilities.

More Motivation to Improve

The boost in confidence, in turn, motivates children to keep going and improving. Eskreis-Winkler said, “[People] overwhelmingly said that they were more motivated by giving advice than by receiving advice.” Seeing how far they have come allows them to project that perspective into the future, so they can see how much further they can still go.

Eskreis-Winkler also noticed that many children already knew what to do—it was a matter of being motivated enough to implement their know-how. Luckily, giving others advice sparks the “saying-is-believing effect” in which the advice giver is more likely to follow and adhere to their own advice after offering it to someone else. Additionally, being in the position of giving advice shows children what has worked and what hasn’t; they get a better sense of how to learn better, which motivates them to put these new ideas to the test.

Higher Achievement Levels

Adding confidence and motivation is a formula that leads to better results no matter what. In Eskreis-Winkler’s research, high schoolers who were asked to give advice saw an increase in their achievement levels as compared to high schoolers in the control group. Their grades from before and after the intervention were compared. The results showed that they improved enough to start a positive snowball effect.

The research team asked students in what class they were most motivated to improve, and that subject was math. She noted:

“Math is a subject that’s notoriously difficult to change student achievement and a subject in which many students lack confidence. We thought this advice-giving intervention would be effective in math, and we did find that the students’ target grades and their math grades improved relative to students in the control condition.”

Giving advice to others is an eye-opening experience that will benefit your child in many different ways. In particular, if your child seems disheartened or unsure of themselves, help them by putting them in positions, so they can give advice to others. The more they do this, the more they can perfect this must-have skill—but there’s a right way to go about giving advice. Some tips include seeing the problem from the other person’s perspectivelistening attentively, and only giving advice when asked or appropriate.

For more ways to boost your child’s confidence and motivation, so they see better results in every area of their life, and enliven their educational experience! Here at JEI, we believe every child can have a better life through better education, so we have meticulously fine-tuned a system that works for every individual, regardless of their learning style or speed.

Enroll with a center near you today so your child can take a diagnostic test and start becoming the best that they can be!