A child is like soft clay which we can mould easily. This is certainly true when it is about good habits. But not everything about the child can be shaped according to our wishes. We all wish our child to be an all-rounder and try our best to make them excel in everything. But in this zeal for perfecting them in every field, we tend to forget nature. We forget that they are born with certain natural and genetic capabilities. As parents we have to recognize these traits and then guide them accordingly.
Children are seen going to several activity classes at a time. A very common comment often heard, specially during the summer vacations, is – ‘Bachcha kuch seekh lega!(The child will learn something!)’. And a common comment among such children –‘I don’t like going to a certain class, par mummy-papa maantey hi nahi!’ Unless there is a sincere will how will one learn anything. Children are forced into hobby classes (even taking away their little outdoor play time) either due to parent’s busy schedules or when parents are over ambitious.
Extra cirricular activities should destress the children from the daily routine. Hobbies are meant to be creative and fun.Some hobbies become life-long companions in the form of a career or simply as a healthy pastime. So these are to be developed in a stressfree manner.
Natural and genetic talent is of particular importance in case of fine arts. Unless it is God-gifted, it is difficult to develop and improve on these. Same is with sports. I must have some genetic physical traits to start with. Parents should observe the various traits of the child right from birth. Observe them as they are, not as you would like them to be.
When you are making him learn some school poem, observe his expressions and modulations. If you feel he is good at that appreciate him and encourage him to speak on the stage. Some children like speaking on the mike, but may fear the audience. Such children can be put in theatre workshops, where they are not alone on the stage. Theatre is fun too. So if the child enjoys it and wants to continue, let her/him continue. He may blossom into an orator or actor.
Almost all toddlers love to colour anything, anywhere. This does not mean everyone is an artiste. Actually colours atract children. We have to observe the neatness and flow of their colouring, the type of strokes they use, the colour combinations, the patience and the imaginations. These are certain indicators to put them in art classes. Same is true with other performing arts.
Sometimes we may feel that the child is good at something, but he/she is reluctant to join a class. Don’t force! Let them take their own time. Keep appreciating and encouraging. As they grow they may voluntary express their desire to learn more in that particular field. Anything done with love and sincere interest gives positive result.
Activities like swimming, karate etc. are basic life skills. Explain the importance of these things to the child in a positive way. Once they learn the basics, leave the decision to continue or not on the children.
I can draw and paint well. My seven year old son is not very much into drawing and paintings. But he appreciates art and can find beautiful images in natural things. My husband is not at all into arts. But he has a good voice and participated in oratory competitions in his college days. I too have been involved in theatre. My son is good in oration related activities and he loves it. So both parents count. We should not force the children into an activity because we have been good at it. Neither should we expect from our children, activities which we wanted to do but couldn’t.
Children also sometimes develop interest in some activities which their friends do. Let them do it. They may develop the required skills because of their interest.
We have already made a monster out of academics. The word ‘learning’ itself is like a burden for children. So as parents and teachers our job is to introduce/show them all the options and give them the freedom of choice. Hobbies should at least be natural and something fun to learn.
We should not try to open the petals of the bud; but provide it the right environment to bloom on its own!