The weather is warming up and summer is just around the corner – Hooray! Summer is the perfect time to provide your child with opportunities to explore new interests. And just as we teach children how to learn, we need to teach them how to pursue a possible new passion.
To discover a passion, a child needs time to sample an interest as well as work through the challenges that are innate to learning a new skill. Allow your child to choose a non-academic activity that sparks their interest. In addition, ask your child to make an agreement with you that she will give this new activity a sufficient amount of time to allow for some mastery of this new skill. Much of the joy of a passion is the feeling of, “I am good at this!” – but that emotion can only be obtained through time and effort.
Parents can create a supportive environment by taking a true interest in their child’s activity. Learn the rules of the sport that your child loves to play or take your child to the grocery store to purchase the ingredients for the fabulous dessert that your child wants to bake. Let your child see that you believe their passion has true value.
Parents should strive to allow their child’s interest to belong to them. Fight the urge to fantasize about how your child’s activities will look on a college application. Remind yourself that your child doesn’t have to excel at their hobbies or interests. Your dreams and expectations are not a component of your child’s passion. Instead, allow them to enjoy their activity for the sheer love of it without any preconceived goal in mind. And if your child’s passion wanes in six weeks or six months, so be it. There are so many opportunities to try something new!
Parents can role model how to develop new interests by challenging themselves to try a new activity. For example, why not enroll in a photography class, learn how to surf, or try a new volunteer activity? Ask yourself, “What would I try if I knew I couldn’t fail?” and then give it a go! As adults, we know we can try something without being graded on it or without any thought about a possible award. Give your child that same gift of freedom to try something new without any expectation on your part. You just might be amazed at what happens!
If you would like to learn more about how to help your child get the most out of summertime, let’s talk about it! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 310-849-6751.