Activities: To Force the Issue or Not…
Your kids, ages three, six, and eight, are active kids. You want to channel that energy in positive directions, in ways that will benefit them for years to come. You’ve asked them what they’d like to do: they don’t know. You’ve suggested dance classes, little league sports, and family volunteerism: your kids don’t seem interested. What do you do? With the goal of helping your kids become well-rounded adults, do you force the issue? Or do you respect your kids’right to find and pursue their own interests?
The answer is that you strike a balance: force activities in general but not specific activities. The only way for kids to know what they do / don’t like is for them to try a variety of activities and see for themselves. Therefore, provide your kids with a list of at least 10 diverse, suggested activities and let them choose a few that they’d like to try. Note that not trying any on the list is not an option. Let your kids try the activities they’ve chosen. It’s not uncommon for kids to have a variety of short-term interests. When they express an interest in changing activities, ask them why. Is it boredom? Lack of interest? Do they dislike their current activities? Do they need greater challenge? Are they being bullied during their current activities? If you can remedy their concern(s) and keep them in their current activities, then that is ideal. If not, then that’s ok. Simply provide them with the original (or modified) list of suggested activities and have them make choices again.
If you do not force activities, you limit your kids’ knowledge and exposure to their potential fields of interest. Further, you risk fostering inertia in your kids. If you force specific activities, you can create resentment and anger in your kids. Striking a balance is, therefore, the perfect mid-ground solution for you and your kids.
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