AS PARENTS, we know it is important that we help our children discover and develop their talents.
Some psychologists even say that one of the main jobs parents have is to help their children discover their passions and their abilities, and to put them to use in making the world a better place. Parents don't need to have a great deal of money or time to support their children’s interests. Below are some suggestions to help you get stated:
1. Notice your children’s talents and comment on them. The first thing parents can do to help their children explore and discover their various talents is to pay close attention to what their children like and comment on them. "You really love to watch butterflies." "You seem to have a real talent for making friends." "I love the way you express yourself with finger paints."
2. Pay attention to your children’s hobbies and interests. Help your children discover and develop talents by noticing and supporting their interests. Most children are interested in or collect certain things. If your child loves insects, help him or her collect them. Get books about them from the library or the book store. Buy a terrarium. Go on bug safaris together. Buy bug posters for your child's room. Make displays together of your child's projects.
3.Talk to and play with your children. Have conversations about current events, what's happening in the community, and what you all did during the day. Encourage your children to ask questions. Read, play games, and do puzzles together.
4. Find a mentor. If you would like some extra assistance in helping your children develop their talents, try looking for someone within your family or community who would be willing to help your children develop their talents and serve as a role model.
5. Teach children not to compare. At some point in their lives, most children compare themselves to others, and feel inferior to them. Parents can respond in ways that support all talents. "Yes, Mike does a fantastic job playing soccer. Ken can run faster than a deer. Anne has a great talent for writing poetry, but I have never known anybody who understands pigeons as you do! I’m amazed at the way you are developing your talents." Help your child realize that s/he may want to explore other talents but s/he should never diminish his or her own.
6.Use talents to help others. One area of talent development that is often neglected is teaching children that their talents can make life better for other people. A child who is good at math, English, or science might tutor a child who struggles. A child who loves nature might help a neighbor with her yard. An outgoing child might befriend a shy one. After all, we want our children to develop their talents so they can help people, not compete with them.
7. Create a support system for parents. This can include workshops for parents or dissemination of information about ways to help develop children's talents at home.
All children have special talents that need to be noticed and nurtured, and parents can be very important in helping them develop their talents by working with them at home. Also, remember to start developing your children’s talents as early as possible so they can achieve their full potential.
Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed, MA, is a teacher with 22 years of professional experience. You can write to her at successfullearner[at]yahoo.com with your questions or comments.