An outline of 4 ways to help children choose an activity
Understanding children is one of the most important parenting tools to help children grow. It helps to nurture and groom a child’s personality, behaviour and thinking. However, it is important to remember that each child is unique and some of their personality traits may remain consistent throughout life.
Most often new parents find it difficult to decide which activities are best for children. Under these circumstances, parents talk to other moms or teachers to get their opinions or suggestions on what’s good for children of a particular age. But what works for other children may not work for your child! It’s really a good idea to get feedback from parents about the right developmental activities for children. It is also helpful for parents to get feedback about schools and teachers offering coaching in various skills. But ultimately, the choice of the activity depends on how much understanding the parents have of their child. This understanding evolves from:
quality time spent with the child
observation of child’s behaviour when exposed to various activities
regular interaction with school authorities
consistent feedback on the child’s behaviour in the school environment or any other environment.
But how do you decide on which activity is best for the overall development of your child?
Expose them to a variety of activities: let them have fun!
When children are young, it would be a good idea to expose them to all kinds of art, culture, and sports. Even if the child is not good at something, the lesson is in the learning. Children will pick up other skills like teamwork, listening, communication, leadership, and other important social skills. This will help groom them to be better citizens of the world. It also teaches them to handle failure and to work hard to correct their mistakes. These lessons will instil humility and patience in a child. Eventually, you may notice your child enjoying one activity more than the other. Parents may also begin to notice some consistent traits with keen observation.
It is not necessary that your child must excel in the chosen area of skill development. Some children like to have fun, be at peace while doing after-school activities. E.g., a lot of children may opt for a football class, because they enjoy the physical activity and camaraderie, but this may not translate to them being the next Messi. However, it will nurture them into better people. Sometimes, children may choose an activity based on the kind of group they have to interact with. If children find the group brings out the best in them or they feel like a different person with a certain group, they may lean towards that activity. It is a matter of trial and error during the first few years of parenting. It is important for parents to be patient by giving children the time and space to learn.
Nurture their aptitudes
When children show an added interest and a certain amount of willingness to engage in an activity, then perhaps parents could help them nurture that skill. Parents can begin by forming peer groups that also have the same interest. This is easier for parents living in communities with large numbers of children. Groups that enjoy dance can enrol with the same teacher or institute. It is important for parents to assist the child in being consistent. Parents can help by ensuring children attend their classes regularly and practice regularly. If the child displays unusual talent, do not hesitate to find a teacher that will be able to match the pace and the skillset of the child. At this level, parents can also help children choose the right role models for motivation and inspiration. Parents can also
establish a routine and a place for children to practice
can help the child plan a schedule and required reminders for the classes
find platforms and opportunities for the child to perform
find ways for the child to engage in community events by using that talent/skill
help the child to catalogue progress
create records of various milestones to instil a sense of pride and achievement
Provide a learning environment
It would be ideal for parents to ensure children have access to all learning material and equipment. It is not only important for children to have the physical space for the same but also a good mindset to dedicate to practice. Exposing the child to renowned artists’ work also makes the journey of learning more fun. For example, a trip to the museum or a visit to an art exhibition.
Most importantly parents can play a key role in building the self-esteem of the child. A positive parent-child relationship provides the framework and support a child may require in developing self-respect and respect for others. Parents can also engage in play with the child to foster a safe and fun learning space at home. Occasionally inviting friends/neighbours over for a combined practice or play session also goes a long way in building a passion for the activity.
Reading motivates children to want to be better
When children read stories about other people, it triggers their imagination and sense of being. This imagination can work as the internal drive towards achieving something or becoming something. Children may also go through phases of wanting to learn new things.
It is important to allow them the freedom to explore and discover new versions of themselves. The ultimate objective of any skill development is growth in cognitive, social, emotional and physical aspects. Reading a book together also provides for opportunities for conversation. Encouraging children to talk about something as impersonal as a story or book, can be a good way to get children to talk about themselves. Children may also be led to talking about their experiences at school or sharing their own personal thoughts and opinions.
These little things really make a big difference in understanding children better.
It doesn’t matter if your child ultimately is able to develop a depth of passion or not. It is, however, important that your child enjoys the pace of learning, can communicate effectively with the teacher and the activity should add a certain sense of self-esteem to the child’s well-being.
Learner Circle offers a variety of online courses of short duration for children who want to explore various activities. If you are in the trial-and-error phase, you may check out our website for details on after-school activities for children. We have amazing courses on chess, writing, Bollywood dance, Carnatic music, guitar and piano! It’s the perfect online platform for children to discover themselves!