by Dr. Randy
Communicating with children is not always the easiest task for parents. Some kids are talkative and chatty, but many are guarded and answer your questions in monosyllables. Here’s a suggestion that might get them engaged. Give them a survey a couple of times a year. Ask what interests them and where they would like to dedicate their energy. Divide these subjects into topics and ask them about each one in some detail. Have them rate their interest on a 1-10 scale. Then talk about ways to make this happen. How much time can they realistically devote to each activity? Children who are engaged in a life plan like this will soon discover they don’t really have much time to spend watching television. These discussions will help focus kids on their interests and encourage them to discover their natural affinities and talents. Explore these four areas together. Develop a plan and support children in their success at making their dreams come true.
How important are their friendships? How much time would they like to spend with friends outside of school? What activities might they do with friends?
What interests them in school? How important are academic subjects to them? Are there other activities outside of school that they might like to pursue? They could research a favorite subject or explore an area of interest at local museums or on the Internet. These discussions will become more sophisticated as children get older and start thinking about college paths and possible careers.
How important are various hobbies? How would they like to pursue them? These might include pets, a musical instrument, Legos, collections, art, ceramics, video games, making clothes, cooking, or any creative pursuits. Have a discussion about lessons, summer classes, and times to do these pursuits.
How much time would they like to devote to their sport or exercise program? Younger children might do several different activities during the week to discover their interests and talents, trying out soccer and baseball and dance or martial arts. Older children and teens will probably focus on one or two sports and commit more time to practices.