The importance of encouraging interests in children stems from some of the foundations of Montessori education. The natural curiosity and fascination that children have with different objects and subjects is part of how they learn to learn.
When your child has a passion for a hobby, it’s important to encourage children’s interests, even when they seem a bit strange at first. While children’s interests can start to feel overwhelming, encouraging them helps them develop a love for learning.
Let’s take a look at why.
Motivation to Learn
Children are less likely to pursue an interest in topics that don’t excite them. Often, parents find it much easier to encourage reading about history or science when their child feels invested in it. As they learn about their favorite topic, it also makes them more likely to do well with their education in general. This seems to be true even when the other subjects don’t relate to their interests.
According to some research, interests have the power to drive learning. Researchers have taken the time to build a science of interest, investigating what an interest is, how it develops, and how to cultivate it. As they learn, they find that interests help us think more clearly, understand subjects more deeply, and develop more accurate memories.
In some cases, they also believe that it has the power to transform struggling learners while helping achievers reach even higher. Put simply, part of the importance of encouraging interests in children is that it helps them do well in other subjects.
Helping Children Open Up
When you encourage children’s interests, it helps them learn to communicate better. If a child has an interest in aquatic life, they are more likely to open up and share their knowledge at a local aquarium. In order to support their interest, you can find books about different sea animals and share moments with them.
Showing support is a great way to open the floodgates when it comes to words and stories. This is especially true for children who don’t seem to speak much. Engaging their interests is an excellent way to help them communicate.
How to Encourage Children’s Interests
Now that we have a better idea of the importance of encouraging interests in children, how can parents help their kids? There are a few ways that you can help foster your child’s passions.
Here are a few simple ideas that can make a major difference.
#1 Books About Their Interests
What holds your child’s interests these days? Do they like learning about animals or different kinds of crafts? No matter their interest, there are plenty of books out in the world that are incredible resources.
With regular trips to the library, you can help your child find books that interest them. The more they read, the more they associate learning with the excitement of their interests.
#2 Ask About Their Interests & Listen
One of the best ways to encourage children’s interests is to ask about them. With open-ended questions, you prompt them to share more about what they like instead of offering a one-word response. Additionally, it’s an opportunity to encourage critical thinking, which allows your child to open up in different ways.
Next, all you have to do is listen without judgment. If your child makes a mistake, don’t be too quick to correct them, even when the facts are wrong. In due time, they learn and correct themselves.
Instead of trying to think of a response, focus more on curiosity about the topic. These simple conversations are a great learning opportunity. Your child learns more about the topic while you learn more about them.
#3 Toys & Projects
Aside from books and chats, you can also encourage children’s interests through toys and projects. Find something that ties into their passions and hobbies.
These might be props for imaginative play, building blocks, or even science kits. There are plenty of opportunities for activities around topics that allow them to explore, leading to new discoveries.
Finding the Importance of Encouraging Interests at Home
In early childhood and beyond, the importance of encouraging interests in children has benefits that last. No matter how different or odd their interests may seem, you can foster a love of learning and help children communicate. Over time, this motivates them to learn and excel at school – all because they have a general curiosity about life.
Luckily, encouraging children’s interests can be as simple as reading and finding projects related to their hobbies. Of course, it’s always a plus to ask questions and encourage them to open up as well. As a classical school, we believe in educating the whole child at Saint Nicholas Schools. This allows us to foster a love of learning in our students that stays with them as they grow.