Post by: Sara Stringer
You’ve probably heard of a 5 year old playing Beethoven on the piano, or watched a cute little 3 year old acting on your kid’s favorite television show and thought to yourself…, “Boy, that kid’s got talent!” Sure, you want what is best for your child, and to see them succeed in life is the ultimate goal. Everyone has gifts and talents (some yet to be discovered), and it generally starts early on in life. As parents, it is your job to not only provide three square meals, clothes, and a roof over their head, but to also recognize the gifts and talents your child has and nurture and support them accordingly.
So how do you know if you’ve given birth to a genius, actor/actress, athletic celebrity, or a musical sensation? Unfortunately they don’t come out the womb with the answers…. (Nope, not so much as a hint of an answer). So here’s some ideas on what you can do:
Observation is Key
You can learn a lot about your children by simply observing them. I know I do. Watching them play with their toys, interact with other children, or even watch television can tell you the types of things they’re interested in. If you see your son banging away on everything he can find, maybe you’ve got a little drummer on your hands. Does your daughter often mimic dance routines? You may have a ballerina in the works. Sit back and simply observe your children and in many cases, their interests and talents will start to show.
In order to give your child a plethora of choices, it is beneficial to expose them to various activities. The more they’re exposed to, the easier it is for them to hone in on their talents. In the beginning, they might participate in activities simply because you sign them up, but as they get older, you’ll start to see which activities they enjoy doing and are excited about. If your child is more of the artistic type, they might enjoy enrolling in art classes. A child who enjoys playing music might enjoy taking a few lessons after school. Find out what activities are available through your school and in your community and sign them up (not forcibly…if your child goes to dance class kicking and screaming every week, chances are they don’t want to be there.)
Once your child starts to reveal which activities they’re most interested in and/or talented at, now is your opportunity to encourage them to keep at it. It is important that your encouragement doesn’t turn into force. So many parents live through their children and become aggressive in their approach to encouraging their children. Instead, encouragement should be in the form of providing them the nurturing and support that they need.
For example, if you find out that your child is into music and would like to learn how to play the guitar, find him or her a reasonably priced guitar, and try locating a qualified guitar teacher to help further their gift. Other ways you might encourage your children is to simply provide guidance when they feel frazzled, or give an uplifting word when they’re feeling discouraged. The more encouragement they receive from you, the more willing they are to stick to their craft and develop it even further.
Last but certainly not least, always provide your children with words of praise. Whether they turn out to be the next big thing or not, knowing that you’re in their corner is important. If your child plays sports, be one of the loudest parents in the stands cheering them on. If your child plays a musical instrument, be at every one of their concerts recording their every move. Motivation is often the foundation for greatness.
Remember, each and every child is special in their own way. Some might be better at music and art, while others are more athletic. In order to help your children step out of the box and recognize their talents and abilities, parents must be key players in providing support and consistency every step of the way. By observing, exposing, encouraging, and praising your child, you’re giving them the opportunity to realize just how special they are.