One of the most heartwarming things about being a parent, at least for me, was realizing how deeply committed I am to helping my kiddo find, and lean into, the things he loves. As someone who’s always been around children (both a nanny and educator before becoming a mama), and as someone who has built an entire career around helping people lean into the things that they’re most passionate about, talking about passions is easy. And so, as I got to know my son, I realized that helping to discover (and foster) your child’s passions is something that will undoubtedly change their lives (and yours).
Here are a few, simple tips to help you guide them in their self-discovery:
Encourage Them To Explore Different Clubs/Social Groups
One of the best ways for you to help foster your child’s passions is to encourage them to try new things. This can be as simple as sitting next to someone new at lunch, or as bold as joining a new club or group at school. Depending on your location, your child’s school, or what you have in your local community, there will be a variety of options.
Anything from park district and recreational sports/sports teams, to music or art classes, to groups that get together to play video games—there is at least something your child can find connection to.
And the best thing to do is to simply encourage them to try.
While that doesn’t mean they’ll stick to that hobby or group, and it may be challenging (especially if your child is on the shy side), it’s a great exercise in getting out there, trying new things, and figuring out what they like (or don’t).
Support Them In School
Your child’s academics are a huge part of his/her feelings about the world, which, inevitably, leads to passions and areas of pursuit (career and otherwise). Regardless of your child’s performance in school, it helps to have guidance, oversight, and involvement from parent/guardians. This will not only encourage them but help guide them along their path.
You can support your child’s academics in many ways: help them transition, set up routines and healthy habits at home, motivate them to study, be a guide in their work (without doing it for them, of course!), and making yourself available to answer questions and be present in their journey.
As your child progresses, he/she will begin to determine what areas of school are fun, challenging, engaging, and boring. Making these determinations for themselves can help them begin to understand areas of passion (both present and future).
Explore Special Activities
As a parent/guardian, you are the facilitator of anything and everything ‘special.’ You are the one who is in charge of vacations and trips, crazy science experiments, museum visiting, and once-in-a-lifetime adventures which may spark something exciting or out-of-the-norm that your child becomes deeply excited about.
For example, if you go on a vacation and snorkel, your child may suddenly have an interest in marine life or scuba. If you go skydiving, your child may realize that they love the adrenaline rush and decide to pursue sports more intensely. Or, if you head to a museum, your child may might be fascinated by the space sector and space exploration. If that’s the case, then you should think about exploring space camps that teach kids about this industry from an early age.
[You can learn more here and decide whether this could be the right choice for your child.]
You never know what your ideas and adventures will spark. While budget is always a consideration, try, as much as possible to find deals, coupons, and cheaper dates/times so that your children can travel, learn, explore, and experience as much as they can (with you alongside them!).
Give Them The Skills They Need
Finally, it’s important to think about what skills may be required for a specific passion.
If your child is excited about art or music, for example, then it would make sense to pursue drawing classes or vocal lessons, quality art materials or an instrument. Or, if your child expresses an interest in running his/her own business, then it makes sense to help them develop customer management and client support skills, as well as communication. While this, of course, depends on your child’s age, you can begin to foster those skills early on through modeling and play.
As you think about current trends in the business world, consider the value of teaching your child a new language, too. It may be a good idea to focus on Spanish, especially early on. Whether you invest in programs or simply practice together at home, building these skills early can help your child be exposed to—and take advantage of—a larger range of possibilities.
Remember, you are a guiding light in your child’s passions, development, and lust for life.
The more things you expose your child to, the more opportunities you encourage him/her to jump into, and the more involved you are, the easier it will be for your child to move forward on a path (and feel excited about it!).
For other ideas on how to support your child’s goals and ambitions, read this post our sister website, Donnelly’s Daily Apple!