Developing Your Child's Talents
There are so many activities nowadays for kids which makes it hard to decide what to get them into, and let's not forget, coordinate our busy schedules to fit in all of the extracurricular fun! But, it's important to recognize what I call "special gifts" in your child... yes, every child has them... and help nourish their growth and development.
In case you're new to my blog and the Happy Mom community, I have two boys, Ryan and Leo, ages 3 and 1. Even though they're young, I can already spot their interests, what they thrive at, and what brings them the most joy.
It's never too early
I noticed how active and energetic Ryan was right from birth. He was a wiggly little worm as a baby, and now he's my mover and shaker, jumper and climber. He's the kid that climbed the couch one too many times as a younger toddler, no matter how many different ways we tried to block it off, he found it... sure enough, one day he jumped and chipped a tooth. I was devastated, of course, but I learned from his dentist that this often happens, especially with active little boys... and they are only his baby teeth... I chalked it up to who he is. The incident happened when he was a year and a half old and I'm so proud he finally let his dentist fill the chip today!
Ryan's super coordinated! You can already see it in how he kicks and throws a ball, and how he moves and dances. I'm definitely considering sports, but he's only 3 so I'm trying to decide which sport to get him into, and instead of choosing for him, I found a program at the local The Little Gym that I think will be perfect for him! It's the gym's Sports Skills class which introduces six different sports and teaches teamwork and sportsmanship. It's going to be a great way for me to see what he enjoys and where he excels to help me decide what to enroll him in full time. Both my boys have spent time at The Little Gym and we love it there!
My little Leo is coordinated, too! He's my musical child... he definitely gets it from his mama. I loved singing and dancing growing up... I still do! Even though Leo's not even a year and a half, I can see he understands music and connects with what he hears. He stops every time a familiar song comes on and smiles from ear to ear.... and then he grooves. He's so cool! Leo loved his music classes with Lovebug & Me Music last year, so I'm enrolling him in another session this summer. There's an upcoming Hawaiian Vacation summer session series which will be the perfect fit for our upcoming vacation to Maui. He’ll get to play instruments, listen, and learn authentic Hawaiian songs... and his favorite part of the class... play with and chase bubbles!
Speaking of music… I love when my boys jam out and sing to mama’s oldies but goodies, of course only the kid-friendly songs. I love introducing them to the music I grew up with because it's so different from today's music and exposes them to different sounds and melodies. With a love of music deep in their roots, I love to leave instruments out throughout the house for inspiration. Some of the boys' faves are this xylophone, baby piano, and most recently vintage guitars they received from their grandma.
While sports and music are two obvious loves in our family... I still want to introduce the boys to other activities that will help develop talents that we may not have fully recognized yet:
You’re probably thinking… El they’re just toddlers, what in the world are they going to learn about engineering? Well, I think it's important to have the boys play with things that will foster their curiosity for building and tinkering. My boys love to build towers and knock them down! For toddler activities, it's as simple as playing with blocks, legos, and play-doh… heck, even a trip to the beach building sand castles can be a lesson in engineering.
While they can’t read yet, it’s important that I introduce my boys to reading early. Children are constantly learning and when you read to them it will encourage their thirst for knowledge even more. It's also proven to build their language and speaking skills. We love to attend reading circles at our local library when we can, and make reading a part of our bedtime routine every night. Some of my boys' favorite books are: Guess How Much I Love You, In My Heart, Goodnight Moon, and many of titles by Sandra Boynton which is super fun and easy reads.
Creating & Crafting
Whether it’s coloring with crayons in a coloring book, finger painting, playing dress up, or making mud pies… even the littlest babes can be creative. Some of the most fun my boys have had is when they are playing with self-made toys… gotta love the cardboard box spaceships and trucks. It’s all about providing them with the tools and environment to be able to create. I love getting them thinking outside of the box.
A note on Imaginative Play
I'm big on imaginative play. I talk a lot about toys that are both fun and educational in this article, but I also talk about pretend or imaginative play. There are toys that encourage it, but it's also nice that you don't need any toys at all to play this way. Grab a blanket and throw it over two chairs to build a make-believe tent and pretend you are camping under the stars... or grab a couple of flashlights and roam around the house on a scavenger hunt for random things. See how your child reacts, plays, and makes up stories and scenes... this will get your child thinking beyond the norm and more creatively. Creativity is everything in our house!
In the end, I just want my boys to be happy and able to express who they are… and I love being able to help them discover themselves. It brings me joy knowing that I'm raising my boys to pursue their dreams... and most importantly to DREAM BIG because no dream is too big in my book and HAPPINESS is always worth pursuing!
That goes for you, too, mamas! Never give up on your dreams because you are your child's best role model. Your child will watch and mimic your every move, so think about this... how are you aspiring to do more and pursue your dreams? Let us know in comments.