publication date: Apr 23, 2007
There’s so much emphasis of children excelling
in all areas these days that parents can lose sight of the fact that their sons and daughters need to play and have fun
! Some children are whisked away every day after school
to some lesson or activity when really a child needs to go home and just chill.
So when you are planning activities make sure your child isn’t being overloaded
- Allow your child the opportunity to explore different activities but not too many at once! Try to get a balance between being physically active and learning skills like a musical instrument.
- Offer encouragement and help with practice sessions - ten minutes every day on the trumpet is better than a hurried and stressful hour the day before a music lesson.
- Set targets if necessary. If there’s a badge or grade you can encourage working towards this. Giving a time-scale may help.
- Negotiate an agreed time to try something new before giving up.
- Make a heavy financial commitment before you know if your child is really interested. For instance many music shops lease instruments or they can be bought relatively cheaply second-hand or on a buy-back scheme. Some schools provide the instrument on loan and you pay for lessons.
- Impose your own interests. Your passion for hockey or ballet may not have been passed on to you child. Or he or she may just be too young for it.
- Put undue pressure on your child - he might just not be ready to devote himself to that particular hobby. Once something becomes a chore, fun goes out of the window.
- Let her make too many commitments - it may be that her lack of enthusiasm is caused by having to spread her time too thinly.
As soon as a child has some understanding
about money, planning and saving you can involve them more in decisions
about starting or giving up hobbies that require some financial outlay
Once a child has reached year six
at school (age 10/11) or above, this should be automatic
. If your child has a history
of giving up on pastimes and wants to start something new
and expensive, suggest he:
- Does without any new kit until he has proved his interest.
- Borrows or hires any equipment needed.
- Saves his own pocket money/birthday money to pay a percentage of the cost. It’s amazing how having a financial commitment manages to focus a child’s mind!
Older children may still need adult help
and encouragement to maintain their interest. If the activity is one which leaves you cold,
an aunt, uncle, cousin or neighbour might be able to offer their support
Children who achieve
and are well motivated
are those who are supported and encouraged at home. Children have to learn that to acquire any skill
takes time and practice and that is something they also learn by the example
of the adults around them.