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Challenge: Follow Your Dreams

How to Notice Your Child's Talents and Help to Develop It

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We all think our child is a genius the first time they hold their own bottle, crawl, or find a new word. As they grow their talents begin to emerge and we want to help those natural tendencies grow into lifelong tools. But how? How do we notice them for what they are and how do we help our children make the most of their talents?

Practice and motivation are key elements in the development of our children’s talents. When natural talents appear, it is important to nurture and care for them, coaching the child forward to greater potential.

Discover Talent

Pay attention to what draws your child’s attention. Look for the moment when they fall in love with a new skill. As you praise them for their efforts do they continue forward, attempting to do a better job, or do they stop and move on to the next activity. Pay special attention to what they choose to do in their spare time. Engage them in different activities and see what they like the most. Talent is only a small portion of the process. They must have a love for the activity to build it into something greater.

Ask. The most valuable tool you have to discover what your child’s natural talent is, is to ask. Ask him what it is he enjoys and what comes easy to him.

Finding your child’s talent doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply pay attention and remember, it’s not about you.

Different Talents

Children often discover very early in life what it is they want to be when they grow up. It is important to help your child discover natural talents and aptitudes to best set them up for a satisfying career. Larry W. Greider writes, “Providing children with a wide variety of experiences and exposure to people who do different kinds of work can broaden their horizons.” Following are a few ideas on how to expose them to different types of work:

  • Allow your child to explore different activities. She will begin to gravitate towards the one or two that she enjoys and excels at. Let her naturally choose where her interests lie rather than force her into a mold of your choosing.
  • Have your child take an IQ or aptitude test. If your child is excelling and/or bored with his subjects consider having him tested. The results will give you an idea of how to better challenge him.
  • Does your child show an aptitude towards writing? Enroll him in a writing class. Use for additional help.
  • Does your child show talent in the visual arts? Find a local art studio or a summer art camp.
  • Look for opportunities in your community for additional classes. Community colleges often have programs for younger children during the summer in robotics, arts, drama, forensics, etc.

Nurture Talent

Encourage your child to copy someone who is already great. Help them find role models who excel in the activity and teach them to mimic their actions/skills. If it’s a painter, have them copy a painting. If it’s a dancer have them learn one of his dances.

Praise your child’s effort. Perfection and ability are not the focus. The effort your child is putting into the task is what will lead her to a higher level of skill.

Don’t be afraid to let something disappear. Part of discovering and nurturing their talents is allowing them to make decisions. Honor commitments for the season but don’t force your child to continue. If they don’t love the activity on their own, they won’t put in the necessary work to nurture their talent.

At the End of the Day Your Child is Unique

Each child is a unique individual and it’s an honor as a parent to walk beside them as they discover who they are and the role they will play in making this world a better place.

Developing your child’s natural aptitudes will bring more enjoyment into their life as they discover what they excel at. By giving them opportunities, encouragement, and freedom to discover who they are you are setting them up for future success.

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