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Tips for Nurturing Your Child's Talents and Interests
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
Some children are born with an obvious talent, like the 2-year-old piano prodigy who plays Beethoven, or the 5-year-old who can bend it like Beckham. Those kids' parents have it easy. But for the rest of us, it can take time and patience to discover our children's interests and hidden talents. Here's how:

• Observation is key. Pay attention to your child and what seems to stimulate his curiosity or peak his interest.
Expose your child to a variety of activities. Try music, art, or sports. Visit museums, take hikes, play games, and be creative. As she grows you will see what she keeps returning to. It may not be what she is naturally the best at, but what brings her the most enjoyment.
• Discuss activities daily. Ask questions about what your child is doing at school, with friends, and after school. Find out what he enjoyed about his day and what he'd like to do tomorrow.
• Accept that your child may not be as good or interested in your favorite activities.
• Don't expect perfection.
It's perfectly OK for children to make mistakes. Teach your child not to be afraid of making a mistake and to learn from the mistakes he has made.
• Encourage your child to attempt challenging activities, to try new things, and to follow her passions.
• Praise your kids often. Offer lots of encouragement and positive reinforcement for your child's efforts and successes.

How have you been able to successfully foster your child's interests and encourage growth? Share your insights with the Community.
kay_kay75 responded:
I understand everything that you have put together here but here is my issue, my daughter is 14 months, I want to start introducing her to different things but don't know which way to lean, do you introduce dance or gymnastics first or do you start with the piano or something like that? I want her to try everything so that she will know what she truly wants to do.
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP replied to kay_kay75's response:
Don't feel pressure to sign her up for every available toddler activity. She's only 14 months old! Introduce her to activities at home and see what she likes. If she enjoys banging spoons on pots and pans, try a music class. If she likes finger painting, explore art. If she's climbing on furniture, perhaps a toddler gym class would be fun. It's ok to go slow. She has years to experience a variety of activities. One class at a time is usually my rule. And there's also nothing wrong with simply going to the park everyday! Kids need unstructured free play time too. This down time is important for her creativity and to rest her mind and body.
kay_kay75 replied to Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP's response:
My only thing is I want to make sure she is happy doing what ever, right now her sitter has no other kids her age so we have made a point to find a church that has kids in the Toddler room her age so that she is exposed to her peers. I am not in a financial situation right now that I can put her in a commercial daycare for more of that exposure but maybe one day I will be.

She does well with other children I just really want her to learn that she is not always going to be the center of attention.

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