We all possess something that makes us special. And for many accomplished professionals, that skill or talent was identified and cultivated as a child. But trying to figure out which hobby or interest your little one should hone isn’t always easy. Dr. Laurie Zelinger, child psychologist and author of the American Girls book: A Smart Girl’s Guide to Liking Herself, provides five ways to spot and grow your child’s talent.
1. Notice what your child gravitates to in their free time. This will usually indicate their natural interest. Children tend to pursue what they like, and “time on task” often leads to an improved skill.
2. Listen to the comments of teachers and coaches as their bases of comparison is a large sample of children. If they feel that your child has talent, it will support your own impressions.
3. Allow unstructured time for your child to explore new opportunities. Try not to burn them out with over scheduling and excessive lessons or parental direction.
4. Once you identify your child’s special talent, help them connect with other children who share that same interest. They can fuel each other to higher levels.
5. Don’t judge your child’s talent. Let them enjoy their pursuits in order to continue to drive satisfaction from within. Otherwise they may feel it is a demand, and lose motivation.