Help your child tap into their strengths through multiple intelligences. This concept was coined by developmental psychologist Howard Gardner in an effort to change how we understand "intelligence." He described eight intelligences that people can possess -- linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal and naturalistic. The idea is that everyone possesses all eight multiple intelligences in varying amounts, but that we are naturally inclined towards some more than others. For example, if you learn best while moving around, you are probably strong in bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
While traditional schools often focus on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences, Gardner’s approach shows that this is not the only way to measure growth and learning. When you provide opportunities to engage all the intelligences, you can help your children to explore their full potential. Over time, you will discover which intelligences your child is drawn to most and you can tailor her learning to maximize her interests and natural abilities.
The best way to nurture your child’s unique abilities is to stay engaged with your child. There are many people who will influence your child throughout the years -- including teachers, coaches, mentors and peers -- but no one’s influence will be as significant as your own. Play with your child. Go on adventures together. Watch to see what piques his interest. Be available to talk when your child has questions or just needs an ear to listen. In all these ways, you will be communicating your unconditional love for him as a human being and lighting the spark of self-empowerment and healthy self-worth.
Children love to try new things. Use your imagination and take the time to expose your child to lots of new activities. Singing, dancing, cooking, playing an instrument, sports, board games, nature hikes… there are an infinite number of activities you can enjoy together. No one is great at everything, but you’ll never know what you are passionate about unless you explore.
As a parent, it is sometimes hard to separate your own dreams from those of your children. It might be hard to swallow that your child just doesn’t like football when you live for Sunday nights. Be sensitive and listen to your children. When you believe in your children, it helps them believe in themselves. Follow their lead and you will help your children to blossom into the amazing, unique individuals they are destined to become.
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