Preschoolers and very young children often express interest in just about everything. After all, they are experiencing many things for the very first time, and the world is very much a magical place. It would seem there’s nothing that can make a preschooler happy, but most preschoolers tend to express more interest in some things than in others. Here, you can learn more about the best ways to help your preschoolers develop their passions early on and why it’s never too early to start.
Studies and Findings
Kids start to engage in their own pretend play between the ages of two and three, and from this point forward, they concentrate on their play just as many adults concentrate on their work or hobbies. Watching your preschooler in his or her pretend play can provide much insight into his or her passions. A psychologist by the name of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi found that adults who are driven to continue pursuing their passions despite personal tragedy and cost are very much like babies and kids in this manner. They are so intently focused that they cannot imagine a life without their passions.
The Gentle Push
Furthermore, Csikszentmihalyi notes that there are ways for parents to help develop their children’s passions, even from a very young age. He notes that children and adults are very much the same in one very distinct and very important way – both tend to perform better and feel happier about their passions when they are “pushed” to perform just outside of their current skillset. Essentially, a learning human being is a happy human being, and each accomplishment that results from this push is a great victory. The more victories the preschooler experiences, the happier he or she becomes, and the more he or she wants to consider pursuing a passion.
Concrete Examples of Building a Preschooler’s Passion
Psychology says a lot about the inner workings of the preschool mind, but parents often need something simpler and more concrete to put the evidence above into action. Here are some steps to take to do just that.
- Observe your child during play. What makes your child happy, and what kind of theme do you see most often in his or her pretend play sessions? Is she incredibly interested in trucks? Does your little boy have a passion for dinosaurs? How about food and pretend tea parties nearly every day? These things will change quickly, but try to pick out recurring themes so you can build upon them.
- Provide educational diversity. One of the best things you can do to help your child discover and hone his or her passions is simply providing exposure. Take your child to various museums, plays, sporting events, and even restaurants. Expose him or her to different cultures, too. Pay attention to what he or she truly enjoys, and then talk about why those things made your child happy.
- Don’t forget strengths. It’s important to truly help your child by playing upon his or her strengths and interests together. Pushing a child to do something he or she is good at, but not interested in, can have the opposite effect. Provide encouragement and tools when necessary and allow individual choices whenever possible.
Young children will provide their parents with many cues, but it’s up to you, as the parent, to pick up on them. A little encouragement goes a long way, as well. Exposing your child to as many activities and opportunities as you can is one of the best ways to help him or her discover interests, talents, and passions that he or she will carry for a lifetime.