Child Leadership Skill

Child Leadership Skill Importance and Promotion

March 12, 2024
Child Leadership Skill Importance and Promotion

There are a wide range of skills that it's important for children to develop during their younger years, and one that cannot be forgotten about here is the realm of leadership skills. While not every child will eventually grow up to lead large groups of people, necessarily, cultivating leadership skills at an early age has several major positive effects on overall development, self-esteem and related areas.

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, our play to learn school and care approach to our various child care center programs in Salt Lake City are ideal for helping children develop many skills, including leadership. Here are some basics on why leadership skill development is important for children, plus some ways that parents, educators and various other caregivers can help foster these skills in healthy ways.

Why Child Leadership Skill Development is Important

There are several reasons why leadership skill development is important for all children, including:

  • Self-esteem: Leadership skills are often tied intrinsically to feeling good about oneself and the things they're capable of. Children who develop confidence and a sense of leadership at an early age will be better prepared to tackle challenges later in life.
  • Communication: In many cases, strong leaders are also strong communicators. This begins at an early age, as children learn to interact with those around them positively and effectively.
  • Respect: Leadership isn't just about giving orders - it's also about understanding perspectives of others and showing respect for them. Leaders must also be willing to follow directions themselves when the situation calls for it.
  • Empathy: Along with respect, empathy is a critical skill for leaders. Children who develop this skill will be able to understand and support others more effectively.
  • Group success: Leaders help ensure groups function smoothly and achieve success together - without solid leadership skills, goals can be much harder to obtain.

Here are some ideas for fostering strong leadership in children, across our next several sections.

Modeling Behavior

Just like many other areas of child development, one of the best ways to help a child pick up leadership skills is by modeling behavior in this realm. As an adult, you're likely already looked up to as a leader in some capacity - whether it's at work or within family and friend groups. Whenever you're around children, model positive leadership wherever possible. This could include:

  • Taking control when needed, but also knowing when to step back and let others make decisions.
  • Communicating clearly, positively, and effectively in all sorts of situations.
  • Showing respect for others' opinions and perspectives - even if they differ from your own.


In addition to modeling, it's important for parents and other caregivers to recognize positive leadership behaviors in children as early as possible. Whenever you see your child being empathetic, communicating effectively, or showing respect for others' ideas and opinions - point it out!

Make sure to also celebrate the successes of other children in your child's life who are developing leadership skills as well. If you're an educator, consider implementing a "leader of the week" program where students can take turns leading activities or taking on small responsibilities.

Games and Activities

With young children especially, it's important to make learning as fun and engaging as possible - and leadership skills are no exception to this rule. Many games and activities can help develop strong leadership skills while also being enjoyable for kids. For example:

  • Outdoor games like scavenger hunts or obstacle courses often require teamwork and communication.
  • Board games that require decision-making and strategic thinking can also be great ways to develop leadership skills.
  • Role-playing games where kids take turns being the leader or playing different roles can help children learn how to give orders, follow them, and work with others effectively.

Camps and Programs

While leadership skills certainly are not the only reason you might consider enrolling your child in a camp or program, these are often excellent ways to foster growth and development in this area. Many organizations offer leadership-specific programs for kids - look around your community to find ones that are the right fit.

Don't forget that leading isn't just about being at the front of a group - it also involves working with others effectively and supporting their unique abilities. With that in mind, it's also important for children to develop a sense of individuality and self-confidence. Encourage creativity, independent thinking, and taking healthy risks! Ultimately, these are the skills that will help children grow into successful leaders and well-rounded individuals as they continue their journey through life.

At First Steps Childcare & Preschool, our play to learn approach not only helps children develop strong leadership skills, but also cultivates a sense of self-confidence and individuality. Contact us today to learn more about enrolling your child in one of our daycare, preschool or other child care programs for families in SLC.

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