Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

How To Encourage Your Kid’s Unique Interests?

How do you know your children’s potential areas of interest? How can you be sure? The best advice is to take clues from their play. It all begins with passion. First, observe your kids at playtime. Really tune into the themes they are drawn to and the activities that make them happy. These will change overtime though. Blocks, tools, and plush animals may interest a toddler but will take a back seat to drawing, or dancing and singing in Kindergarten.

Also, it’s never too early to expose your young ones to a diverse range of culturals events, children’s museums, sports, and “little” gym activities. Allow your kids to decide what things speak to them. Timing and your watchful eye is everything. Keep in mind their individual strengths and interests. Allow for individual choice and experiementation.

Keep in mind that the interests and passions expressed in a preschooler’s pretend play are likely to be fleeting. What really matters is that your young ones thrive on their own pursuits of what they like to do and from which they get satisfaction. It is equally important and that their passions are bolstered by the your gentle encouragement. Wisely show interest in your kid’s endeavors while resisting any urge to take control. So if your daughter invites you to tea parties over ad over again, attend as many as you can, and do so enthusiasticly. Be sure to let her pour and place the cookies on the plates. Don’t be afraid of squeezing into the little chairs while she takes delight in serving you. Go along with your son on a trip to outer space, and cheering when he starts the countdown.

The secret here is to tune into and accept your children’s uniqueness and enthusiasm. Following these short and simple measures promises the rewards of a life enriched by the joyful pursuit of genuine passions, and meaningful accomplishments for your kids. Enjoy exploring all the possibilities!

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Play To Your Children’s Passions

This afternoon, while purusing a great website for parents http://www.scolastic.com, it got me to imagining if only the “great thinkers” that mull over the eternal question: “What is happiness?” could have watched my playful, energetic granddaughter as a toddler waddling as far as as parents would let her go. When her legs gave out, and she landed on her padded bottom she was ready to do it again and again. Healthy, happy children show intense determination to accomplish their goals. Keep in mind, that heir mastery thrives with much encouragement and respect from you.

Kids begin spontaneous pretend play by the age of two and a half years old. They may enjoy becoming a make-believe mommy or daddy, reading a book, going shopping,
cooking on a campsite stove, or setting up for a tea party. Preschoolers are as intensely concentrated on their pretend games as they had been as babies on peek-a-boo. As kids get older the content becomes richer and more revealing of their individual interests, learning styles, and desires. It might seem like hard work to stay focused on their play, but it’s not. Why? Because they like what they are doing and derive much satisfaction from it.

From birth, kids are driven from within to learn, focus, practice, and accomplish personal goals. Have you noticed that the most intriguing activities for young ones are not passive. My granddaughter when watching Sesame Street and sees Elmo, or hears an upbeat tune, or gliding on a gazebo swing, sways, and claps her hands from sheer delight. Her pleasure is enhanced further by the presence of her admiring parents, who share the thrill of the experience with her. That is true for every child at every age!

What happens to young children’s passion for learning and exploring over time? As children grow, I noted that in formal learning settings I often wondered what had become of this early single-mindedness, and the eagerness to get it right. What can you do to prevent your little precious ones from losing interest in, or giving up on what they like to do?

Wise parents tune into their kids’ individual interests and temperaments from birth. on. Keep in mind that children’s tastes may change; they will elolve. All the more reason to stay tuned in to their desires. Please, consider that imposing your own dreams on your kids can take the magic out of their personal discovery, creativity, and learning. Children’s enthusiastic focus can’t be maintained if their parents’ expectations are at odds with their own abiliites and special interests. I made the mistake of giving my son piano lessons. Since we had a beautiful baby grand piano, I thought his love of music would be fostered. He didn’t want to play the piano, and I nearly risked killing his love of music and taking away the precious time he could have used for his individual intersts. Pushing our own passions on our kids can compromise the foremost goal that most parents have for their children – Happiness!

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How To Raise Happy Kids

So this morning, a blurb about what works to raise happy kids on http://frugalgranola.com got me to thinking as to what is the most important thing a busy mom or dad could say, or do to encourage joy in their childrens’ lives; and to provide all the things that will endure throughout all the overscheduling, new, unpleasant or threatening situations, and peer pressure.

Ideas like: reminding them of their value, because God made them and loves them, encourage contentment instead of entitlement, insure that face time is greater than screen time are important to be sure. But what is the main idea that will help kids bring about the understanding and experiencing of a happy life? I believe it is much more profound than all the things mentioned above, and also, choosing praise words, allowing kids to correct their mistakes, and helping kids to set goals. It’s not just concerning yourself with sharing what happiness looks like, or trying to eliminate negativity from daily situations and events for your kids. It’s much more that all these wonderful strategies.

How do you really give your kids the gift of lasting happiness? You take stabs at praising them, by showering them with their hearts’ desires, and lending a helpful hand when they struggle. Those external motivators are great but are they lasting? They last about as long as a McDonald’s Happy Meal or an ice cream cone!

Teaching your children that true happiness comes from “within” themselves rather than from “without” is the secret to being happy now and all through their lives! The simplicity of this concept is staggering, when you give it some thought, but it is truly the foundation of lifelong joy. To raise children who know how to sustain a joyful, fulfilled life is the goal of parents to be sure. This unique approach – one that depends on the development of certain inner qualities, including respect, trust, self-esteem, and a sense of playful enthusiasm toward life in general sounds so simplistic, yet it is a sure fire way to lead children to the happy and contented lives they were meant to live. To share this in another short way is that happiness relies on self-sustained love! Oddly enough, I did not learn and live this secret from a book, teacher, video, class, or the internet. I acquired this life long skill from my mom! She would often say as I grew up, and many times before I went on a date as a young adult:”Don’t rely on others to make you happy. Make your own good time (happiness), you have it within you!

Here are some workable, practical and concrete applications to develop and instill the inner qualities that lead to a lifetime of being open-minded, patient, and non-judgemental. The following steps can help you lay the groundwork for your childrens’ joyful approach to life.

Foster A Can-Do Attitude. This is one of the reliable defenses against anxiety and depression. Children watch and learn from how you deal with disappointment in your daily life, athletic event, or perhaps when you’re cut off in traffic. Encourage competition but make sure that both winning and losing are dealt with the same positive attitude that includes other opportunities to shine when disappointment is evident.
Humor is a great way to deal with pain, or bits of home spun philosophy. Simply seeing you never giving up is also very powerful.

Connect With Others . More than any other single factor you can control, connection is the key to rewarding relationships. Connection, in the form of unconditional love from an adult helps foster self-confidence. Create an atmosphere at home in which your children feel safe, cared for, welcomed, and treated fairly.

Schedule Unstructured Play. Unstructured play sharpens childrens’ imagination, and teaches critical problem solving. It also helps foster childrens’ learning that doing things again and again lead to mastery.

Create Opportunities for Mastery. With mastery comes confidence, initiative, and leadership skills. It tranforms children from reluctant, fearful learners into motivated individuals. Once kids feel the potent sensation of success, they’ll want to “go there” again and again.

Provide Praise and Recognition. The feeling of being valued by others is key. We adults too quickly forget how much words of praise were so important to us as kids. It meant the world to us, and to kids today it still does. Recognition in turn provides the sense of connection that all children need and deserve.

That’s all for now. Your comments will be well received. I look forward to hearing what you’re thinking about. I’d like to address the issues that are important to you and your children. Happy Parenting!

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