Imagine a time when you were in a class that tormented your very soul, causing grief and endless studying, with very few rewarding moments to show for it.
Maybe it was chemistry, physics, calculus, or even something like physical education. Did forcing you to try and do better make you like it more? Did it benefit you and count as a net gain to your life? Or would pursuing your natural talent and useful interests have been a better use of time and energy?
Personally, I didn’t pursue a life engaged in the subjects I hated.
But what if we shifted out perspective of everyone needing to meet a certain level in all subjects to a perspective of being a functioning member of society in terms of literacy and basic math and heavily focus on the natural giftings of our children?
What are the Benefits of Nurturing a Child’s Interest and Talents?
All children have natural talents and things that interest them. Supporting those interests and talents is a great way to help your child build confidence in themselves. A confidence in who they are but only in a craft or interest that fulfills them.
Talent can show up in a variety of ways, but it may need a parent’s special touch and nurturing to bring it out. Once it shows though, your child will shine in a way that is undeniable. I know that when my oldest finds something she thinks is interesting to be truly fulfilling, she excels quickly. For instance, she learned the Lord’s Prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance in sign language each in a single day.
4 Easy Steps to Identify and Develop Your Child’s Skills and Interests
Expose them to varying activities, ideas, and experiences
Your child won’t know what they’re good at and what interests them unless they try new things. Providing a variety of opportunities for your child will help them find their passions and talents so they can blossom.
Even just finding fun field trips can help diversify the world around them. Maybe an experience at the local battleship could spark an. Interest in the ocean or a trip to a natural science museum creates a desire to pursue more knowledge about caring for animals.
Introduce your child to different activities like team and individual sports, music, dance, and art. Take them to sporting events, local craft fairs, and theater to expose them to new ideas and passions.
Related: Parents who build unshakeable trust with kids have 7 things in common
Look for clues
Children don’t usually recognize their talents and interests easily, they just pursue the things they enjoy doing.
My oldest son knows he loves to tinker with snap circuits, play with keys and locks, and take things apart. He has no concept of what a mechanic or engineer are, but his natural proclivities to dissect machines can be the catalyst into exploring both of the careers.
For them, it’s a natural instinct. It’s up to you to pay attention to the things your child really enjoys doing. If they show a particular interest in dancing to the radio, they may be a dancer in the making and not even know it. Your nurturing will help develop that passion into something they feel good about. Pay special attention to your child when they play, this is when they usually do the things they enjoy the most.
Support their efforts
Your encouragement will go a long way in your child’s desire to pursue their passions. Use phrases like “I’m proud of you” and “You did a great job” when they show off their skills. Show an interest in what they’re doing by talking about it and asking questions to get them talking.
When you see their eyes light up and the natural excitement in their voice, you know they’ve found something they’re really interested in. Create opportunities for your child to show off their talents to friends, family, and teachers. When you encourage them to show off a little, it will build their confidence in their abilities.
You would also be surprised that the more you share about their endeavors the more adults will come out of the woodwork offering time helping them because they too have that interest and love seeing children discovering it on their own. One friend comes over weekly to help my oldest crochet and another friend sees us on a regular basis, teaching my children to sing. Other people have offered to go hiking or geocaching because my kids have said they want to. This builds great mentor-like relationships for them.
Provide additional learning opportunities
If your child shows a particularly strong interest in something, encourage it by offering additional resources for them to learn from. Give them books and show them videos that expose them to the possibilities. If necessary, and if it’s in the budget, get them a coach or tutor to help them improve their natural abilities.
There are even typically teams and groups pursuing a variety of interests if you look for them. Our children found a robotics class locally that they enjoy and they regularly participate in the local fairs to display art, photography, needleworks, and gardening.
Your child will only pursue their natural talents and interests as long as their enjoying it so make it fun. Don’t weigh them down with too much pressure or by pushing them too hard. It’s important to know the difference between being supportive and being pushy. The most important thing to remember is to nurture anything you find your child enjoys.
How to Create an Environment at Home That Encourages Children to Explore Their Natural Talents & Passions
Children are naturally curious and imaginative; they have the ability to discover their passions and talents when given the right environment, encouragement, and activities. As parents (or teachers), we can provide this by creating an environment where they feel safe to explore, play and express their own creativity. Sometimes a shy or overly rambunctious child might need help to uncover their natural talents — it’s that same idea as not knowing their proclivities might be key parts of a career they didn’t even know existed.
Related: The secret to raising confident kids is hiding in the moments they fail
2 Practical Tips to Help Parents Guide Kids Into Pursuing Their Passion & Strengths
Every parent wants to see their child succeed and reach their full potential and not fizzle out. But how do you help your children discover their passion and strengths?
By understanding the needs of your children, providing support, encouraging exploration, and setting achievable goals, you can help them develop the skills they need to succeed whether in a future career or simply enjoy a life-long hobby.
Talk about their goals with them
Setting achievable goals with children is a rewarding part of parenting. You can help them both dream while also guiding their steps to make it come to fruition. It can help them learn to take responsibility for their own outcomes which in turn develops a sense of accomplishment to have the motivation to pursue it more.
It is important to understand why your child wants to do something and what their exit strategy is. Ask them questions about why they want to achieve a certain goal and how they plan on doing it. This will help you both come up with a plan that is realistic and achievable while also not getting frustrated as a parent that you signed them up for lessons and one or two practices and they want out. If everything is detailed before starting about the only reasons for an exit, then it becomes more clear to the child about their role so it’s not just a fickle pursuit.
Make sure that your child enjoys the process of achieving their goals and feels fulfilled when they reach them. Set goals that are challenging but not impossible so they can learn from the experience while still feeling successful.
Help them take action after reaching their initial goals
This could be in the form of promising new equipment, getting lessons, or other ways to encourage your child to take action in their dreams and not just sit on them. Our girls know that if they study horse anatomy, learn basic horse conformation and riding terminology, and have general horse knowledge, they can then get horseback riding lessons.
Maybe if playing an instrument, they want to be able to play certain scales in a certain amount of time. Once they reach their goal push them to double down. This might look like paying for lessons for them at this point or joining a local orchestra.
The idea is that they not only see the fruits of their labor, but your child will also see you invest in time and.or money in their endeavor which helps them see the value of pursuing their natural talents.
Keep your child from just giving up when it’s hard!
Using the word “SMILE” this is a cheat sheet on how to reframe negative thoughts and words into something more positive for the family to focus on. And it’s an immediate shift from negative to positive! Click the image below to get an email of the printout.
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 5 children living on a farm in New England. She believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience and has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development. She is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!
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