Giving parents and children additional time to spend together has been one of the few bright sides to the pandemic. If your family was home for most of this time, you’re probably more familiar with your child’s interests. Maybe you see signs of talent that you’re eager to develop. Maybe you’re concerned that they need more constructive options for filling their leisure time. In positive parenting, we want our child or children to become resilient and confident people. Interests can really help with this!
Whatever stage your child is at, encouraging their interests can enhance their future and deepen your relationship.
Here are some positive parenting suggestions for helping your child to figure out what they enjoy doing and what they excel at.
Encouraging Your Child’s Interests at Home:
• Talk it over. Your child may have a passion that is easy to observe, or you may need to work a little harder. Ask them what they like about their favourite things. Listen closely to their answers – listening is incredibly important in positive parenting.
• Be flexible. Are you less excited about dinosaurs than you used to be? It’s natural for a child to outgrow their old passions. That’s especially true if they start hanging out with a new crowd.
• Block out free time. There are actually some advantages to letting kids become bored occasionally. They need unstructured time to do their own critical thinking and experimenting – all part of positive parenting once again. Leave some slots open in between soccer practice and piano lessons.
• Offer resources. Create an enriching home environment for your child. Build a rotating collection of books, arts supplies, and educational toys and games. These activities can really help you and your child discover an exciting interest for them.
• Mind your budget. On the other hand, you could go broke trying to keep up with interests that may be expensive and fleeting. Maybe you can rent musical instruments or buy a used mountain bike for your child.
• Share your interests. Talking about your own hobbies is another way for parents and children to bond. Invite your child to join you in cooking a meal or playing a sport. Just be sure to let them make their own decisions, rather than pressuring them to adopt your tastes. In positive parenting, we want our child to become their own person, not replicas of us!
• Provide recognition. Let your child know that you’re proud of their efforts. Display their artwork in your home. Take them out for ice cream or miniature golf.
• Maintain balance. A well-rounded development usually increases the chances for happiness and success. Teach your child to try a variety of things and juggle different responsibilities. This is all part of positive parenting and helping them become resilient humans.
Encouraging your Child’s Interests Away from Home:
• Ask their teacher. There may be opportunities to integrate your child’s interests into their school curriculum. Talk with their teacher about elective courses, independent study, extra credit work, and after school programs.
• Join a club. Reach out to others with similar pastimes. Search online or ask friends if they know of a club their own children have been involved in.
• Take a vacation. Make your family vacation extra special by letting your child plan activities based on their interests. Help them to research attractions at your destination. For a road trip, plan a route where you can stop off to see popular beaches and skateboard parks.
Help your child to pursue their interests, so they can use their strengths and lead an active life. You may also develop a greater appreciation for their individuality and enjoy a more satisfying relationship.