4Cs of 21st Century Skills Kids Need to Learn

What does it take for a child to thrive in the 21st century? Nowadays, the concerns of parents go beyond enrolling their child in a good school.  As a parent in this era, there are so many things to consider when raising a child.  With all the technology and developments in the modern world, raising educated and empowered children takes more than just the ability to read and write.

Every child needs to learn and develop 21st-century skills, which is critical for your child to someday succeed in education and the workplace. As a parent, you need to be aware of these skills to help your child prepare for the future.

The main components of 21st-century skills in children are the 4 Cs — Critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.

Critical Thinking

Your child needs to develop critical thinking as early as possible. This is the proficiency to design and organize projects, solve problems, and make beneficial decisions through different tools and resources. These tools and resources can support critical thinking, especially when utilized to create authentic and relevant learning experiences that allow kids to create, discover, and use new insights.


Creativity goes beyond making pretty artworks. Your child needs to develop the ability to pursue new concepts, ideas, and products to get things done. Children should be encouraged to explore and utilize both their thinking ability and the technology to get creative projects done. Creativity motivates a child to try new approaches to get things done, innovate, and invent.


Communication not only refers to communicating effectively, orally, in writing, and through other digital tools.  Your child also needs to learn how to listen. It involves the sharing of thoughts, questions, ideas, and solutions.


A child needs to be comfortable and good at working with people.  He should learn to work in a team — learning from others, contributing to others’ learning, using social networking skills, and illustrating empathy in working with various people. Success is easier to attain when people in a team develop collective intelligence and co-construct meaning.

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Developing Critical Thinking and Creativity in Kids

To encourage critical thinking and creativity, apply the following in your child’s daily activities.

Sentence Completion– Ask your child to complete a sentence in as many ways as possible.

Definitions– Ask your child to define a term, provide some examples, its denotations, synonyms, and antonyms.

Problem Solving– Encourage your child to list down ways that could solve a problem.

Clustering– Make your child jot down a crucial concept in a paper and create personal connections to it.

Modeling– Ask your child to present a concept in the form of a sketch, diagram, symbol, or other visual forms.

Questioning– Allow your child to write questions about a certain topic and pick the most engaging one.


Developing a Child’s Communication and Collaboration Skills

Have kids create small groups to share their ideas and do the following activities:

Select a thought– Motivate your child to share their ideas with a partner or group and work together to choose a specific thought they find interesting.

Wild hares– Make your child share their ideas, decide which idea is the most unique, and indicate why.

Summarize– Ask your child to share their ideas and create a statement that will summarize what they found.

Dramatize– Encourage your child to brainstorm ideas and choose one that they will act out in front of the class.


Help your child prepare for the future by exposing him to activities that promote 21st-century skills. Ensure that his creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration skills are being developed so that he’ll grow up equipped to face the challenges and opportunities of the modern world.


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Gwen Llana-Serrano is a millennial mom who works from home. She owns a content writing start-up and writes about her experience as a mom for the first time on her parenting and lifestyle blog. He also writes articles for The Asian Parent, the largest parenting website in Southeast Asia.