We live in a society which places huge demands on our children. And as parents it is hard to ignore the pressure from society to have our children succeed. In hopes of having them turn out happier and smarter, we sign them up for travel soccer, piano lessons, swim team, art class and after school tutoring. But is this making them happier and smarter? Probably not.
However, it is possible to create happier and smarter children. But it requires a leap of faith on our part as parents. It also requires going against many pressures that we endure as parents. After all, you want your child to succeed, to be happy and to be smart.
The first step is to find out what really interests your child. Does she enjoy drawing or painting? Does she like to swim? This step may take some time as your child experiments with new and different activities. Encourage your child to participate in new and different activities. Then encourage her to pursue the ones that she enjoys. But make sure that she is the one who wants to pursue it, not you.
Second, give your child time for free play. True free play. Turn off the television and the video games. Foster creativity and encourage your child to try new things. Many of today’s children have not experienced true free time. As such, they may not know how to behave when given free time. Initially, your child may require reassurance that it is okay to just sit at times. As long as you yourself are able to tolerate this, most children can learn ways to entertain themselves. Such self creation generally fosters creativity and enthusiasm in children.
Finally, encourage your child to stop and smell the roses. Literally as well as figuratively. Encourage her to get outside and enjoy nature. Encourage your child to play for play’s sake. Children enjoy the process, instead of the goal. These days, children are often focused on the “win,” instead of the enjoyment of the moment. Give them time to enjoy the moment and creativity will blossom.
If you follow the steps above, chances are your child will soon learn to play in ways which will help her throughout her life. She will learn to problem solve. She will learn to use her imagination and be creative. And she may well develop an enthusiasm for a totally new activity. When your child does become enthusiastic about something, encourage that interest. This makes for a happier and smarter child.