Studies show that when kids have interests outside of school and when they are allowed to develop their talents, they are much less likely to have academic problems, social problems and get in trouble. The question is how do you help to identify those talents and interests. What’s more, how do you develop those talents and interests? There are some things to keep in mind when you are trying to develop talents and interests in your child, try these tips.
Keep an Open Mind
When it comes to interests, there is a whole, wide, wonderful world to investigate. Perhaps you have a child who love to look at the night sky. Try introducing them to astronomy (this may lead an interest to physics). If your child seems to have a talent for art, try encouraging them to draw. Look for things that they seem to love and things they are good at, but keep an open mind. Be prepared to accept talents and interests that may not be conventional, then educate yourself on various avenues of exploration.
Allow your Child to Dream
Dreaming is a wonderful way to find about your child’s talents and interests. Open up conversations where you encourage them to dream and think about the “what ifs” in life. What do they want to be? What do they want to do? From lawyer to lion tamer, no dream is too extreme. If they talk about acting, encourage them to pursue study and practice in that area by attending some acting classes for kids online. Let them open up and dream, the real world can wait for a while.
Use Videos and DVDs
When you hit on something that interests your child, find some videos and DVDs on the subject. Look in the documentary section of your local video rental store or library and find some videos on the subject or subjects that your child enjoys. You may want to view the material before you allow your kids to watch it, just to make sure that you don’t expose them to subject matter that you feel may be inappropriate.
Your local book store and library can be a treasure trove of material to help develop your child’s talents and interests. You can find books on how to draw, how to paint, how to write songs and much more. Be creative and don’t be afraid to expand a subject because at the same time you will be expanding your child’s mind. An interest in animals can lead to veterinary medicine, dog grooming and animal shelter worker. An interest in music can lead to singing in a rock band, playing in a symphony or teaching music to elementary school students. Once again, no dream is too extreme.
Use the Internet
Of course the internet can provide you with volumes of information on whatever interests your child, but did you also know it can help you expand the scope? If you go to a keyword research site you can see related keywords and this can be topics that you may introduce to your child to broaden their interests and talents.
Find Activities to Support their Interests
If you can afford classes for your child, you may want to invest in them to help cultivate their interests and talents. However, there are often many activities in the community that can also serve to educate and inspire. For a child who is interested in the stars, visit a planetarium. A child who loves animals will probably enjoy visiting the zoo. If your teen loves music, take him or her to concert. Children learn by doing so get out there and let them experience the things that interest them. They may turn into passions.
Be flexible when developing your child’s interests and talents. You never know what may develop out of it. Just because you don’t enjoy music does not mean that your child won’t enjoy it. Be flexible enough to help your child pursue interests that may not be your own. Your child is not an extension of you, they have their own interests. Allow your child to be freedom to be their own person. Give them the gift of your flexibility that will allow them to soar.
While all of these things are indeed ways to support your child’s interests and talents, there is more. Give them your attention. It is easy to sit a child in front of the television or computer. It is simple to stick a book in their hand or send them off to art camp. What is not simple is sitting down on their bed and saying “Can I see what you have been writing?” or “Would you please show me your drawings?” or even “So, you want to be in a metal core band, can you put on a CD so I can see what it is like?” Taking the time to reach out to your child on their terms, on their level, will mean more to them than all the books and DVDs in the world. It all starts with just three little words, “Can we talk?”
Thanks for participating in this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted at Discussing Autism. The Carnival will be live tomorrow, so stop by and enjoy some of the other many articles contributed this week!
Interesting in hosting? Check out the schedule at Colloquium and let me know which week interests you!