Prepare your child for success in life

As a parent in today’s world, you are probably wondering how to make your child successful in life, given a changing world and an economy that looks very different from those of previous generations. New perspectives on education and finances can certainly help. Learn how developing problem-solving strategies, cultivating creativity, and foundational personal finances could help prepare your child for success.

A teacher listening to a group of young students.

How to help your child succeed

According to the World Economic Forum, critical thinking and problem-solving top the list of skills employers believe will grow in prominence in the next five years.1 While you may have read that schools do too much "teaching to test," many educators recognize the importance of problem-solving as both a life skill and a job function.2


Preparing kids for the future

Fostering an environment of creative problem-solving is an ongoing challenge for many schools. Students need opportunities to think creatively, experiment, and work with data throughout the year.3 What can we do to encourage children to develop necessary skills for the future? Here are two key places to start:

  • Invention education or invention-based learning is a proven way to teach disciplined inventive thinking in the classroom. Inventive thinking is necessary to build an innovative, entrepreneurial, and diverse workforce to meet our country’s future needs. Invention education puts science, engineering, robotics, coding, building, and other skills into action.3

Students might, for example, pair up to build catapults that knock over a pile of blocks, learning not only some physics, math, and engineering but also how to problem-solve and work with a group. At home, you can supplement their school-based learning with activities to further help prepare them for the economy of tomorrow.

Invention education puts science, engineering, robotics, coding, building, and other skills into action.

  • Encourage free play—both independently or with others.4 A hallmark of free play is creativity, a key prerequisite for problem-solving. Alarmingly, a child's ability to think creatively typically declines over time. Kindergartners asked to come up with uses for a paper clip can name dozens. Older children, more rigid in their thinking, usually come up with only a few.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, play can foster creativity and imagination, as well as dexterity and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Through play, children can explore the world, practice adult roles, develop new competencies, and develop the resilience to face challenges. Play also supports a child's ability to find his or her own interests and pursue them.


Financial strategies for your children

It’s never too early to get a jump start on your financial future. Early financial preparation is another way to help prepare your children for success.

  • Invest in your children’s education by setting up a separate savings account just for your children. You can also invest in a Section 529 college savings plan.5 These plans may offer tax advantages6 and, in some cases, the ability to pay in installments over a longer period. In most cases, the earlier you start, the less you’ll have to pay on a monthly basis.
  • Purchasing whole life insurance is also an option. Children may benefit from life insurance; the value of a policy can grow over time, providing an invaluable financial head start. When they are older, they can borrow against the cash value for things like college tuition or a down-payment on a home. It should be noted that accessing the cash value in this manner will reduce the available cash surrender value and death benefit.
Related Content

Want to learn more about financial strategies for your children?

A New York Life financial professional can help determine what’s right for you.

1Kate Whiting, “These Are the Top 10 Job Skills of Tomorrow—and How Long It Takes to Learn Them,” The World Economic Forum, October 21, 2020.

2”Why are life skills important?”, Macmillan Education, August 9, 2019.

3“What Is Invention Education?” California Invention Convention, 2021

4Mirjam Schöning and Christina Witcomb, “This Is the One Skill Your Child Needs,” The World Economic Forum, September 15, 2017.

5529 plans are offered by properly licensed Registered Representatives of NYLIFE Securities LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC), a licensed insurance agency and a New York Life Company.

6Earnings portion of the withdrawals will be subject to ordinary taxes plus 10% penalty if used for non-eligible expenses.