One of the most confusing things we have to do as we grow up is decide what we want to do when we grow up. Frequently, the people who do best are those who discovered their talents and passions as children and had the time and the opportunity to begin honing their abilities early on. They are also less likely to get a degree that turns out not to relate to what they truly want to do, and therefore tend to be happier and more fulfilled adults. But how can you help your child discover what they want to do and what they are naturally good at?
All too many parents know the frustration of having a child who wants desperately to do ballet, then wants to change to theatre, then to the cello, then horse-riding, then the scouts… And so on and so forth, from activity to activity. The impulse is often to force the child to stay in one activity for a minimum number of years, but have you considered whether that’s actually a good idea?
One of the reasons children are so eager to switch is because they haven’t yet found their true passion, and by allowing them to swap when they want to you will be able to help them find it. Hold off on buying permanent accessories such as their own musical instrument or uniform until they’ve attended a set number of sessions, and you will be able to avoid spending money you’d rather not. You can be fairly straight-forward with the outfit in question about this, and they will usually be understanding. Four or five sessions are generally enough to truly gauge your child’s ongoing interest.
When your child does decide they’re passionate about something, you can begin buying them books on the topic and help them explore the activity on a more in-depth level. Avoid extrapolating their future career; they may decide to do something completely different yet. However, if they come to you and tell you they want to work towards a successful career in that arena, be as supportive as you can be. After all, this may well end up being what they do for a living. If they have some concerns or questions about how they can make it into a career, the internet and the library will be able to help you figure it out.
Films and documentaries about the activity in question are a good way to help develop an understanding and a deeper knowledge of the topic, too.
Amazon allows you to search by topic and will be able to help you find books and DVDs relating to it.
Finally, competitions may become an option when your child is more advanced. But don’t force them; if competitions are of no interest for them then that isn’t an issue. They may need more time to build up confidence. Buying tickets to view such a competition may help them to understand the process and become familiar with the concept of competing without immediately placing them under huge amounts of pressure to make winning a priority.
Helping your child discover their passion and talents may give them a huge head start in terms of their future as well as helping them to enjoy their beloved activity from an early age. Don’t be afraid to spend some money to help them figure out what makes them happy in the long run!