How To Help Your Child Explore Their Passions
Passion is critical to a well-rounded, fulfilling life. When people are passionate about what they are doing, they are more naturally motivated to achieve their goals and strive for greatness. Recognising the important role that passion plays throughout our lives, it’s necessary to provide children of all ages with passion-based learning experiences.
Here, we offer guidance on how you can encourage and support your child to find their personal passions.
ROLE MODEL AND SHARE YOUR PASSIONS
As parents, we are the biggest role models in our children’s lives. They observe our behaviours and take cues on how to deal with the world based on how we ourselves operate. Showing your child that experiencing new things, enjoying hobbies and pursuing passions brings joy, meaning and fun to our lives is the foundation that inspires them to discover their own passions.
Talk with your child about your own interests and explain why you like them, how you discovered them and how they enrich your life. Passions don’t have to be ostentatious like learning to fly a plane. Personal passions can be simple yet fulfilling activities such as growing your own food, playing a sport, practising a hobby craft or starting a collection. The key is the enjoyment it brings. Discovering passions is a life-long journey.
PASSION IS PERSONAL
Try not to force your ideas on your child. There is no harm in encouraging them to try an activity that you are also interested in, but focusing on their interests above yours will help ensure that they will find their true passions.
Try not to be critical of things your child enjoys, even if they are activities that you don’t personally like. Our interests are very individual, and it’s important to recognise that nurturing passions are for personal enjoyment, and not a status symbol, a competitive game or require the approval of others.
WAYS TO HELP CHILDREN DISCOVER THEIR PASSIONS
Learn about the world
Introducing your child to various experiences and topics will help you both better understand what sparks their interest. The biggest obstacle for a child looking to discover their passion is their lack of experience and knowledge – there are still many parts of their life that they haven’t experienced.
As a parent, you can help by exposing your child to as many new experiences as possible, whether trying a new activity, visiting a new place, learning a new skill or meeting a new person.
When they have a new experience, talk to them about it; how did it feel? What did they think about it? What did they enjoy or dislike? What would they like to know more about regarding that topic? Talking to your child in this way teaches them how to analyse their experiences and feelings in the future.
No one can offer better insight into your child’s passion than your child themselves. Ask them what subjects in school they are most interested in, what sports or music they enjoy, and if they have anything they are interested in learning more about. Listen to what they say and help guide them to explore further.
Non-traditional extracurricular activities
Many schools offer elective and extracurricular activities such as computer science, languages, sports or after-school clubs. As your child’s school years progress, they will become busier and busier with studies and exams. Make the most of the early school years and sign your child up for after-school activities while they have more free time to explore and develop their passions before studying and exams take over.
Children often change their minds, which is a natural part of development, so it’s important not to pressure them to stick with something if they start having second thoughts or not enjoying it. What interests a child at age five may not be interesting a year or two later. Give your child the space to choose their hobbies and activities and don’t shame them for giving up if it simply doesn’t interest them any more.
If your child shows interest in an activity or topic, you don’t need to overwhelm them with information. Instead, start asking questions to determine what their level of interest is so you can find the best route in helping them explore their passions.
Show them it’s okay to investigate new things and discover the world around them without making a long-term commitment immediately. Instead, encourage them to be curious about the things that interest them first, and show them how they can learn more about a topic.
Start short term
If your child wants to sign up for a new hobby, it’s always a good idea to choose the short-term option first. Signing up for a short number of sessions provides flexibility, which can be helpful, especially as children can change their minds quickly. It’s also a great way for your child to try out experiences and discover new likes and dislikes without a long-term commitment.
INSTIL CONFIDENCE IN THEIR ABILITIES
A confident child is more likely to explore their interests, try new things and persevere in learning a new skill. Nurture your child’s self-confidence by:
- Focusing on their strengths
- Expressing your belief in their abilities
- Creating opportunities to nurture their interests
- Celebrating their successes and efforts
- Encouraging a growth mindset and coping with failure
- Supporting and encouraging exploration and bravery
Remember, helping your child to discover their passions is a process that requires patience, understanding, and an open mind. It may not always be easy to find the time, but it’s worth the effort.
Encourage your child to try new things, explore different hobbies, and pursue their interests with enthusiasm. This way, you can help them discover their true passion in life and set them on a path toward a fulfilling and successful future.