We all know that our children have specific gifts and talents and a lot of them start to develop and display signs of their abilities from a very early age. I picked up on my son’s love of drawing pretty quickly, we couldn’t keep enough crayons in the house he would go through them so quickly! But I knew that if that was what he loved, I wanted to help him get better at it as much as possible. Providing support and developing those talents was extremely important to me, so I decided to commit to the idea of helping him out with his projects. I bought a roll of butcher paper so he would never be without something to draw on (god help my walls) and let him get to work. But then I considered it, what more could I do to help him develop his talents? How could I make sure that he enjoyed what he was doing and stayed hungry to learn different techniques and skills? Well, after practice I have a few suggestions for doing just that and helping your child develop their skills while staying happy and encouraged about it.
1. Engage with them while they learn.
I like to sit down and draw a doodle along with my son now and then. There’s a certain amount of validation that he feels when he sees that I like doing the thing that he’s good at too. Take your child to different places where you both can engage with that activity and talent while also learning new methods and techniques. Take a children’s writing seminar, if your kid seems to like to read. Go to a pottery studio and paint matching mugs if your child likes to paint. Take mother-child swimming classes if your child seems to have an affinity for the water. Participating with your child is a great way for them to feel encouraged about the things that they are good at doing.
2. Don’t determine their interests.
If you’re constantly hovering and watching while your child is doing what they enjoy, they can easily become stressed out about it and get too “in their own minds” about whether or not they actually enjoy what they’re doing, and you don’t want that. Let their talent be their own, a thing that they do when they want to do it, which hopefully is often. It’s important to let children do things on their own so that you don’t detract from their sense of accomplishment by being too overbearing or sharing in it too much.
3. Validate their work.
There are not enough refrigerators in my entire city for the amount of art that my son produces, but I’m always going to hang things up when he’s done with them. I’ve devoted an entire wall of the kitchen to his various creations and let me tell you, it’s actually pretty fun interior decorating. I can see that the sense of satisfaction from seeing his art complemented and recognized encourages him to get better at it as time goes on.
4. Get others to help in the validation.
It can get pretty routine pretty quickly if you’re the only one engaging in the encouragement of your child’s skills and talents. You can invite friends and family to join in on their development by suggesting that they ask your child about how their talents are coming along. One of my favorite go-tos is showing my son a video from Santa Claus, thanks to Free Video from Santa. They’ll make a personalized video from Santa and you can ask that he include praise for the work and progress that your kiddo has made in the development of their talents. It’s a great resource and the look on my son’s face when he hears that the North Pole knows about his art, is priceless.
5. Enroll your child in classes to hone their skills and improve them.
If your child seems to be athletically inclined, sports teams are a logical go-to to help them excel in their field. After school programs for any number of non-sports related activities are great as well. I have a friend who’s little boy has far surpassed his math class in school and she had him enrolled in a great program for students gifted in math. My son goes to an arts and crafts workshop once every two weeks where they teach him new skills and techniques in drawing and he’s really become confident and excited to learn more.
6. Support their talent.
I think we must visit the art museum at least once a month at this point. Showing my son different painters and artists from all over the world is extremely encouraging for him. Make a point of going to minor league baseball games or sporting events in your area if your child appears to be an athlete. If they can observe that someone else shares their talent, they’ll be more encouraged to get better at that talent themselves and it works wonders.
Following these simple tips will help your child develop the confidence and discipline to pursue their unique talents. With a little guidance from you, your kids will have a lifelong interest in self-improvement and be proud of letting their talents shine through!