Conscious Parenting: Nurturing Your Child’s Talent
Your daughter gets up to dance at every peppy number that is aired on television. Your son loves to bang on the table, instead of the tabla he doesn’t have – and what a wonderful job he does of it!
It may have often crossed your mind and your well-meaning relatives and friends might have pointed out that all your child needs is a little training before s/he beats Madhuri Dixit or Zakir Hussain.
But do you have your doubts about your child’s seriousness towards these hobbies? Do you think they’re just a passing phase and will die a natural death with time?
On the other hand, does it also worry you that your child may miss out on her best learning simply because of your ignorance about her talent? To help you with that dilemma, here’s a short guide to help you nurture your child’s gifts.
Learn About Your Child’s Interests
Before you begin polishing your child’s skills, you need to learn about her areas of interest. Spend time with her and be involved in her activities. Does he like Michael Jackson numbers or prefer Yanni’s instrumentals?
Rani Malhotra’s eight-year-old son would copy Bhimsen Joshi in ‘Mile sur mera tumhara’ so well that she decided to enroll him in an Indian music class for vocal singing. In two years, the kid has become a pro with all the surs (tunes).
Most children like to make cards for their parents and friends on occasion. When yours does this, observe whether she likes to paint, use crayons or simply makes a paper collage. This will help you identify how she likes to use her creativity.
“The most important thing that you can do is to expose your child to a host of activities,” says Reena Saxena, a counselor at Mount St. Mary’s School, New Delhi. From rock shows to sitar recitals, take her everywhere.
Look for art competitions in newspapers and on the Internet and encourage your child to participate. Who knows, you may discover a budding artist in her and she may surprise herself with her creativity. You also need to observe what makes her happy.
Once you’ve found a thread, you can always follow up. “Your child needs your help to discover her interests and inclinations, but at the same time she also needs an opportunity to speak her mind,” asserts Saxena. Decision making should be done together, as a family.
Geeta Desai of Ahmedabad, mom to 12-year-old Radhika, says that her child is an avid reader who can express herself quite well. With a little research on the web, Geeta found a newsletter that provided information about writing competitions for kids.
She also looked for publications that accepted contributions from kids and paid them too. Her mom’s efforts initiated Radhika into writing and she won a couple of awards.
Look For The Right Trainer
Once you and your child are sure about what she wants to pursue, you’ll need a mentor to hone her skills. The choice will be wide as there are lots of classes available for every art form that you can think of. The trick lies in finding a class which has qualified teachers, is close to your home, and suits your pocket.
Before you enroll your child, speak to the instructor so that you’re comfortable with them in all respects. It is important that the instructor, besides being qualified, also knows the right way to guide your child. This will keep your child’s interest alive in the class.
Help Her Hone Her Skills
Once you have found the right classes for your child, don’t expect instant success. It may take weeks, even months, before she shows any significant progress, depending on what she’s learning. You will need a lot of patience with her mistakes.
She may also decide to discontinue the classes and drop out with the activity – don’t mistake this as a lack of interest. “Your child is only discovering herself, and for that she needs to try out different things before she settles for one or two that really captivate her,” says Saxena.
Expose her to famous personalities in the field that she is pursuing, and let her find a role model. Get her to read biographies of her role models or take her to their shows or exhibitions.
Help Her Enjoy It
“My son loved to read and exhibited a talent for writing poems,” says Meena Vishwas of Delhi. “To give him a better understanding of poems, I read out a lot of famous poems to him, explaining their meaning and showing him different styles of poetry writing.”
“I handed my daughter the sitar that I used as a teenager and relived some of my memories with her,” says Malini Bisht. “It was great fun teaching her rag malhar, which I once played for the school orchestra.”
Its great to teach your child what you’re good at and judge her potential and interest, but don’t force anything on her. If your little one loves to color, get her a box of the latest crayons, water colours or pastels available in the market. Tell your friends and relatives that this is your child’s gift of choice.
A very important factor is to provide an environment for your child to practice at home. For that, some encouragement and a little sacrifice will be required from you. If your child needs to practice for an hour in the evening, you may have to stay with her or at least ensure that no other activity around the house disturbs her routine.
Change your plans for a movie or a TV serial to some other occasion. You’d do it in all seriousness for her academics, so why not for her hobbies? Who knows, this might become her career some day!
Every child has a hobby or a talent that can be groomed into a skill. “What your child needs is a confident personality, a responsible attitude and a little assistance from you to sharpen it,” says Saxena.
Finally, allow her to choose her own activity without forcing anything on her. It’s her life, and she needs to make her own choices – with your guidance.
Copyright © Priti Salian
Priti Salian is a full-time writer and mother to her daughter. She has written articles on a host of topics for various publications like Complete Wellbeing, Child, Mother and Baby and Discover India. She may be contacted at email@example.com
This article may be reproduced with the complete author bio and a link back to http://www.lovingyourchild.com
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