21 Things Children Should Learn That Would Make Them Better Project Managers In The Future

In recent years, there has been a lot of debate about not only how kids should be taught, but also what they should be taught too. Although most schools work hard and try their best to deliver a broad curriculum, it is still the case that maby kids are not being taught the work, or life, skills, they need to succeed.

For example, some people argue that kids should be taught more about meal planning, so they can eat a healthy diet, and some, argue that financial literacy should be taught as standard at school. While those debates rage on, today, we are going to yake a look at the kinds of skills it would be useful for kids to learn now, so we can bring up many more successful project managers in the future.

  1. Mastering the Mighty Piggy Bank

“Save your pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves!” Aye, it’s not just about saving; it’s about understanding finances and investments, whether it be family budgeting or comprehensive forex education. By giving children a basic grasp of money management, you’re setting them up for a future where they can budget, invest, and ensure their projects don’t go belly-up due to a cash crunch.

  1. The Art of Delegation

Ever noticed how kids are pretty darn good at getting others to do stuff for them? (“Mum, can you tie my shoes?”) Well, in the grown-up world, that’s called delegation. Children who can delegate tasks effectively (and not just dumping their chores on a sibling) will find project management a breeze.

  1. The Magnificence of Time Management

Let’s jazz up those “Time to bed!” moments by introducing concepts like scheduling and prioritisation. By mastering the jigsaw puzzle of homework, playtime, and chores, kids learn the precious skill of allocating time and resources efficiently.

  1. Saying No, Gracefully

Kids often want to please everyone, but sometimes, they need to learn the gentle art of refusal. Whether it’s declining an additional after-school activity or managing stakeholder requests later in life, a firm but kind ‘no’ is a valuable skill.

  1. Embrace Failures

Let’s get one thing straight: Everyone mucks up now and then. Instead of shying away from mistakes, kids should learn from them. Every hiccup, be it a toppled LEGO tower or a misjudged calculation, is a stepping stone towards becoming a resilient project manager.

  1. The Quest for Knowledge

Why not encourage a bit of Sherlock Holmes-esque curiosity? When kids ask questions, delve deeper, and research topics of interest, they’re honing critical thinking and analytical skills. These are the very same skills they’ll tap into when troubleshooting project snags in the future.

  1. Sticky Wicket Negotiations

Anyone who’s tried to negotiate bedtime with a toddler knows kids can be formidable negotiators. Harnessing this innate talent and moulding it will ensure they can strike deals, mediate between conflicting team members, and get the best out of their projects.

  1. Listening Ears On!

It’s not just about waiting for your turn to speak. Proper listening can unearth problems before they balloon, understand team members’ concerns, and grasp client needs. Train those little ears to be all ears!


  1. Chart a Course

Map reading might seem a tad old school, but understanding how to chart a course (be it on a treasure map or a Gantt chart) is pivotal. Kids who can set goals, follow steps, and review progress are on a surefire path to project management success.

  1. Embrace Technology, But Wisely

From project management software to futuristic AI tools, the tech landscape is ever-evolving. Encourage children to be tech-savvy, but with a dose of caution. After all, no app can replace human intuition and relationship-building.

  1. Build that Team Spirit

Team sports, group projects, or even multiplayer video games can all foster team spirit. When kids understand the strengths and weaknesses of team members and how to collaborate effectively, they’re prepping for a future of leading high-performing project teams.

  1. The Joy of Celebrating Small Wins

Every milestone, no matter how tiny, is a step closer to project completion. Kids should relish their achievements, be it acing a spelling test or nailing a piano recital. This habit will serve them well, keeping motivation high during longer projects.

  1. Cultivating Patience

Teach them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Whether they’re waiting for their turn on the swing or watching a plant grow from a seed, learning patience helps them understand that projects have phases, and some require a longer waiting time.

  1. Emotional Intelligence

Getting them involved in drama classes or storytelling can help kids understand and express their feelings better. Recognising emotions – in themselves and others – is essential to manage project teams effectively.

  1. Stay Organised

Provide kids with tools like colourful organisers or task charts. The practice of noting down tasks and checking them off, be it homework or household chores, is a basic introduction to task management.

  1. Ethical Decision Making

In a world driven by profit, teaching children about ethics and moral responsibility ensures they make decisions that are not just good for business but for society at large.

  1. Tackling the Unknown

Introduce them to new experiences, cuisines, or hobbies. This pushes them out of their comfort zone and equips them to handle unfamiliar scenarios – a frequent occurrence in projects.

  1. Sustainability

Teaching children about sustainability – be it planting a tree or reusing old toys – can make them future project managers who consider the long-term impact of their decisions.

  1. Value of Reflection

Encourage kids to keep a diary or talk about their day. Reflecting on what went well and what didn’t prepares them for post-project evaluations.

  1. Adaptability

The only constant is change. Whether it’s a change in school or a new neighbourhood, helping children adapt to new situations teaches them the crucial project management skill of being agile.

  1. Networking

Yes, children can network! Playdates, joining clubs, or team activities can be a starting point. Effective networking is crucial for future collaborations and resource pooling in projects.

As you can see, there are a lot of fairly basic things that are currently not always taught to children, but which probably should be, not only if we want the next generation of project managers to be as competent as possible, but if we want them to have richer lives all-round and a greater chance of success in whatever it is they choose to do.

PM Today Contributor
Related Guides
Related sized article featured image

Qiaoyi Li
Related sized article featured image

While organisers have trailered an event comparable to Bletchley, a number of its key attendees have turned down invitations to Seoul.

Martin Coulter