5 Tips for Discovering your Child’s Interests
All kids have curiosities and interests. Being able to identify their interests can help us to learn what their strengths are. In doing so, we can help develop their self-awareness and self-esteem in a healthy and natural way. Additionally, discovering your child’s interests can help prepare them for school and extracurricular activities. The Apple Tree Kindergarten is an International Preschool in Bangkok that provides a nurturing and creative environment for children to explore their interests freely. We believe that play-based learning can make a huge impact on a child’s development and can help parents foster their child’s strengths and confidence early on.
So how do you go about finding their interests? This article will provide you with useful tips on how to identify your child’s interests and strengths naturally.
1.Observe how they play
Children are natural-born explorers and storytellers. They’re not merely building blocks, drawing pictures, or playing dress-up. Their imagination is limitless; they are constantly creating stories within their playtime. Through observation and assessment, we can learn what they like, what they can do, and what they gravitate towards. Attentive observation plays a huge role in figuring out where your child’s abilities and interests lie.
There are many ways to observe your child while they’re playing; it’s important to gather as much detailed information as possible to make correct assessments about their interests. Here are a few techniques that could be useful:
- Checklists: create a pre-determined checklist to gather what their strengths and skills are. Try to create as many detailed points as much as possible.
- Documenting: this could be a portfolio of your child’s work, photographs, transcripts or recordings that involve your child’s learning and playtime.
- Anecdotal Records: this technique uses factual accounts of events your child has experienced in the past tense. It should describe your child’s behaviour and responses to an event or learning experience.
- Learning Stories: this method requires you to tell a story about your child’s experiences and decisions and the consequences of those decisions. It can be a short paragraph or an entire page.
2. Write it Down
While observation is important, it’s easy to forget what your child’s interests are daily. Try writing down your observations and what their interests are. You can even create a simple checklist to help track your child’s likes and dislikes. Some questions to keep in mind are:
- What makes your child laugh/smile?
- What usually keeps your child’s attention?
- What do they get excited about?
- What gets them to try new things?
- What do they spend time doing the most?
- What do they usually work hard at doing?
Once you’re able to gather enough information, you may notice that your child’s interests can be grouped into two categories: personal and situational. Personal interests include general likes, favourite things, and activities. Situational interests are when a situation, event, or activity attracts a child’s attention and they naturally want to be involved in that event. Take notice of these two types of interests as they can help you better assess your child’s likes and dislikes.
3. Listen to them
One of the most effective ways to discover your child’s interests is to listen to them. Try setting aside time for a conversation. This will help them to express themselves more freely and helps you to gather what they like and dislike through their body language and words. It’s important to actively listen when they are expressing their feelings or concerns. You can do this by building on what they are saying, observing their body language, not interrupting them, and letting them do the talking.
4. Be open to their ideas
Apple Tree Kindergarten is an international preschool in Bangkok that uses an Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. We value observation, curiosity, exploration and hands-on experiences to develop a child’s learning and growth. Having this open-ended approach to learning is a great way to find out what your child’s strengths and interests are. When you allow them to express and voice their experiences freely, that’s when you can really notice where their gifts lie.
5. Provide them with opportunities
There are many learning opportunities here at The Apple Tree Kindergarten that encourages children to be themselves and explore their interests. If you observe that your child loves to draw and paint, perhaps provide them with more art classes and tools so they can explore their creative side. Providing your child with opportunities based on their interests will not only increase their confidence but will help parents recognize what their strengths are and develop their natural tale