Tips & Tricks: Fostering Your Kid’s Talent

Does your kiddo spend hours in the backyard, watching birds and catching critters? Do they want to help out every time you make cookies? Maybe they’re always humming a tune? Or they love solving puzzles? Activities related to biology, baking, singing, and STEM are just a few of the ones that may pique your child’s interest. And you as a parent can make a big difference when it comes to discovering what they enjoy, recognizing a skill, and honing your little one’s talent!

A toy tow truck for kids and toddlers.

Identifying an Interest

Staying at home or working remotely means that there is more opportunity for spending quality time with the kids – and playtime is a big part of that! As you turn into their playmate, you can actively watch your child, pay attention to how they play, and take note of what they play with. In turn, this can help you identify where their interests may lie. Do they have a blast by themselves or do they prefer playing with you? Do they enjoy quiet crafts or energetic games? Do they reach for toy trucks or go for farm animals? Unstructured play comes with a ton of clues that can help you discover what your little one loves and if they’re skilled in it!

A kid playing with a green toy recycling truck in a playroom.

Cheering Them On

After you’ve identified what your child has a knack for, you can encourage them to dig deeper and to explore the many facets of a given activity. Say you notice that your little helper is always the first on the scene when someone gets a boo-boo. You can then introduce them to toys and games that bring out care and empathy, such as playing doctor or caring for a plushy patient with the help of a vet set. Will they prefer treating friends and family or their furry four-legged friend? No matter what they choose in the end, cheering them on as they creatively express themselves and validating their enthusiasm for an activity can motivate them to pursue it!

A toy recycling truck, still in the package.

Nurturing a Skill

Next step – practice! As your kiddo gets older, you can continue supporting them by finding ways to sharpen their skill. If building with blocks, putting together jigsaw puzzles, and being good at problem-solving got them into coding, you can let them try out a kid-friendly programming tool, encourage them to attend a class, sign them up for a community coding club or a summer coding camp. Exposure, hands-on activities, helpful examples, and expert training can then help them transition from a little hobbyist to a potential professional in the years to come. And checking in with your child to make sure they’re excited about what they’re doing is key to developing their skill successfully! You can get them involved in the decision-making process, ask them how much time they’re willing to dedicate to a given activity, or smoothly let go if ever the spark fades out.

Determination, practice, and patience on both sides are likely to help your kid get closer to their dreams. And every part of the journey should be equally celebrated – the excitement, the progress, the failures, and the victories!