A parent’s role
The role of a parent is to find what their child is passionate about and support them in it. This may change as they grow, but every bit of information you gain from watching and listening to your child will give you the tools you need to help them realize their full potential and fulfill their dreams and goals for the future.. The earlier you start this adventure, the better. Of course, this involves spending time with your child without distractions (a good time to put your phone away). Then, watch. And listen.
Observing and Listening
If you have chosen to home school, observing and listening to your child is a bit easier. But any parent can do this. Carving out time for this will make a huge difference in your child and in how you feel about yourself as a parent. Observe their play and how they interact with others. Not just children their age, but older and younger children, as well as adults. At no time in our adult life do we spend time with only those our own age. Give them opportunities to converse and interact with people of all ages, backgrounds, socio-economic situations, religions,
and occupations. Write down what you observe and hear. When your child wants to talk, listen. Listen intently so they understand you are invested in them and their interests and that they are important to you. Their ideas and goals may be different than what you want for them. Be open to their thoughts and ideas. Encourage them.
Giving Opportunities and Tools
This next suggestion is extremely important; give them opportunities and tools to delve into their interests. Remember, play is a child’s work and builds their self-esteem and self- awareness. It encourages them to try new things and find their strengths. Support them and, when appropriate, join in the “work”. Children are natural born learners and explorers. Observe what makes them excited and happy. What activities, stories, projects keep them engaged? What are they willing to work hard for? When you show your support by providing the tools they need to further explore and learn about their interests and are ready to listen when they want to share their excitement, you will really be able to zero in on their interests. Allow them to express their experiences freely, without interruption. Their confidence and communication skills will grow and they will realize their potential early in life.This can’t help but build their self-esteem. Create a nurturing environment by talking , listening, and doing things together.
Reminder: Don’t focus only on your child’s interest
Just a reminder, though. Don’t focus only on your child’s interest. Whether you home school or public school or something in between, your child needs to be well-rounded in their learning experiences. Developing physical skills and spending time in nature have been scientifically proven to increase positivity, stimulate the brain, and improve overall health, both mental and physical. No matter who we are, we benefit from learning basic education topics. These include, but are not limited to, math, english, science, Help your child understand how these basics are helpful throughout their life. Where applicable, point out how they relate to their interest. A child who loves to write stories or poems will benefit from understanding the intricacies of language. If your child wants to build things, geometry and other math and science will be invaluable. Perhaps your child doesn’t know yet what interests them.
Introduce a variety of options
Don’t try to choose their passion for them! Give them some suggestions by introducing them to a variety of options. Then start the observation and listening process. Ask questions to help spur their train of thought. Do not discount their choices. If an interest is beyond their scope or your budget. Explain that they may have to wait a bit, but find something in that field that they can do now. If they want to play cello, but you can’t make it happen now, perhaps they can take a music appreciation class or listen to cello music together.
Find joy along the way
Not every attempt at finding and supporting your child’s interests and passions is going to be successful. Just know that from the beginning and give yourself and your child grace. Try to work through the flops with humor and perseverance. Pick up the pieces and try again. When encouraged, children will acquire talents and interests that they may not have considered before. As a parent, you should expect effort, not perfection. Leave plenty of time for other pleasures such as reading or outdoor play. A happy, optimistic parent is the perfect example for a child. Enjoy the journey!
It’s amazing what kids can do when they’re given the freedom and support to follow their dreams and pursue their interests! In The Tuttle Twins and their Spectacular Show Business, Ethan and Emily have the full support of their family as they chase the dream of starting a business. They learn all the hard work and risk involved with being an entrepreneur, and they payoff that comes when you commit to doing hard things.
Showing your kids you believe they can be successful as they follow their dreams is a key role of a parent. Our books can help you get your kids thinking big! Check them out today.