More family time together has been one of the few positives to the pandemic. Like us, if your children have been stuck at home and you have had to home-school, you’re probably very familiar with their interests.
Maybe you have seen signs of a talent that they love and you’re keen to see it grow. Maybe you’re concerned that they need better options for filling their free time. Or you may just be tired of hearing that they’re bored and you want them to have something to be excited about that they’re good at.
Whatever stage your child is at, encouraging their interests can benefit their future and deepen your relationship.
Try these 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’s passions may be really obvious, or you may need to dig a little deeper to find out. Ask them what their favourite things are and why they like them. Listen closely to their answers and try not to influence their responses with your reaction.
Are they less excited about dinosaurs than they used to be? Remember it’s natural for kids to outgrow their old interests. Their passions will change and develop as they get older. Be open to things that pique their curiosity and explore ways to find out more about them.
Let your child be bored
Try not to overschedule your child’s activities. They need unstructured time to do their own thinking and experimenting. Leave some time open in the week to allow them to choose what they want to do and try things out.
Create an enriching home environment. Build a rotating collection of books, art supplies, and educational toys and games.
Keep to a budget
You could easily spend a fortune keeping up with interests that may be expensive and fleeting. Maybe you can rent musical instruments or buy a used mountain bike.
Share your interests
Talking about your hobbies is another way for parents and children to bond. Invite your child to join you in cooking a meal or shopping for antiques. Let them see your enthusiasm. Just be sure to let them make their own decisions, rather than pressuring them to adopt your tastes.
Let your child know that you’re proud of their efforts. Display their artwork in your home and celebrate their achievements and hard work.
Well-rounded development usually increases the chances of happiness and success. Teach your child to try a variety of things and juggle different responsibilities.
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 after school clubs or options to learn a musical instrument.
Join a club
Help your child to find a club that incorporates their interest and allows them to try it out to see if they like it. Reach out to others with similar pastimes and connect with other parents for ideas.
Sign up for Summer camp
Consider a themed camp for aspiring astronauts or amateur gymnasts. Contact your local art and science museums to find out more about their summer clubs. Keep an eye out for flyers from their school advertising sports holiday clubs.
Take a holiday
Make your family holiday extra special by letting your child plan activities based on their interests. Help them to research attractions at your destination. For a road trip, for example, plan a route where you can stop off to see popular beaches or skateboard parks.
Visit your library
For more ideas and resources, you can count on your local library. Check their monthly calendar for children’s events and classes. Search the collection for books and other media. See what suggestions the librarians have to offer too.
Help your child to pursue their interests, so they can get to know themselves, find their strengths and recognise what they enjoy. To help them find the fun in a hobby or a passion is a great gift to give to your child and one that will give enjoyment and comfort for many years to come.