As parents, we are always striving to raise our children to grow up to be kind, helpful, generous and caring. What is also important is raising passionate and determined human beings. Tying into this month’s South Slope Pediatrics core value of passion and determination, let’s talk about ways we can help foster and nurture this within our children’s lives.
What is Passion? Passion is defined as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something”. Our children are naturally passionate. Whether it be passion for all things Frozen, trucks, ballet, or soccer…our children often have very intense feelings (one way or another) towards things. How do we encourage and support this passion?
* Perhaps the #1 thing we can do as parents is to give our children opportunities. Give our child that opportunity to try a new sport. Give our children our devoted time to read and draw with them every day. Introduce them to new places, new things. Try a new food, go see a concert! Try a new music class. Go to the special exhibit at the Science Museum. Allow them the opportunity to find their passions.
* Always encourage your child, no matter what the passion is. Is he passionate about playing in the kitchen? How about spending time baking or cooking with him, allowing him to cook (or make a mess) with you! Is she showing an interest in dinosaurs? How about a family visit to the Museum of Natural History! Discuss these topics of interest with them. What do they want to learn more about? Take lots of photographs so you can refer to them and talk more about what you see and did.
* Keep it positive. I start each day with telling my 4 YO daughter “Today is going to be the best day”! She repeats it back to me, excitedly and with conviction. And when they have their lows, when they are frustrated because they can’t do something right, we need to let them know that failure is OK and a part of life. Try again, they will do better! Help them grow confidence and stay positive so they can find those passions.
Love and support whatever your child’s passion is. Is your child obsessed with tennis, but you haven’t picked up a racket in decades? Now is your chance. Nurture their passion by showing how far you’ll go to support them.
What is Determination? “A quality that makes you continue to do or achieve something that is difficult”. It is closely tied into passion in that the determination often comes from that passion. Determination is key to a successful life…so how do we help develop determination in our children?
* Recognize when your child works hard at doing something. Be their cheerleader, tell them how proud you are at their efforts, even if they can’t do exactly what they are trying to accomplish. Acknowledge that they are persisting, and giving it their all! Maybe try making the “trying” fun. My daughter was finding it hard to figure out how to leap (trying to do a grand jete from ballet class). She was very frustrated to the point she started crying and wanted to quit ballet class. I set up some of her stuffed animals on the floor so she had to LEAP over them…this became sort of a game to her, and she kept doing it and doing it until she could leap over the pile of toys, instead of running around it.
* Support and join them in the different activities that might be challenging. Perhaps it’s putting together a REALLY BIG puzzle, or riding your bike with them up the big hill in Prospect Park. Tell them stories about how you once didn’t know how to do something, but you were so determined that you finally were able to learn it and how good that felt! Let them know that the goal is attainable, and set up smaller benchmarks along the way so the goal feels less terrifying or intimidating.
* Lead as example. Let your child in on your own struggles and how you want to overcome them. Explain that you’re frustrated or upset with something, and what you are going to do. Let them know that you will never give up. Are you learning something new? Let them watch and see how you are trying your best.
Bottom line…our children all have these qualities in them, it’s up to us as parents to help them reach their potential!
Posted by Jen Valu
Photo by Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
Fun family events over the next month include rocking out to a Michael Jackson tribute, celebrating “Grandparents Day” at the Children’s Museum, and enjoying breakfast with penguins! Check out all of this and more in this month’s roundup of fun family activities in the area.
It’s Grandparents Day at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum! Celebrating grandparents and elders in our lives, on March 18th you can meet an artist, touch live sea creatures, go to an interactive story time, say “cheese” with the grandparents in a pop-up photo booth – then design a custom frame to go with your photo! AND so many more fun activities. To learn more, go to: http://www.brooklynkids.org/grandparents-day/
Say goodbye to winter and SPIRAL into Spring at Lefrak at Lakeside’s Ice Showcase, where you’ll see figure skating solos, duets and group numbers. March 19th from 5:30-6:45pm. http://lakesidebrooklyn.com/event/spring-ice-showcase/
From March 18th – 26th check out the Peter Pan Experience at BAM. 5 adult strangers find themselves in a world of nightstands and night lights, a world where your favorite forgotten toys appear out of nowhere, your favorite music thrills you to dance, and all of the joys of childhood come flooding back thanks to the invisible magic of Peter Pan. Dutch’s theater company Het Laagland presents this formally innovative, effortlessly thrilling piece of physical theater about rediscovering the joys of play, shaking off the shackles of adulthood, and flying high with the kind of make-believe. Ages 7+. Tickets: $15. http://www.bam.org/kids/2017/the-peter-pan-experience
On March 25th at Littlefield Performance and Space (622 Degraw Street), check out “Kids Rock Michael Jackson! A Tribute to the King of Pop”. Doors open 11:45, show starts at noon. 10 Amazing young bands play tribute. Tickets are $7, free for kids 5 and under. http://www.littlefieldnyc.com/event/1429508
Every Sunday through April 30th in Coney Island you can come experience an afternoon of fun and wonder at the Magic at Coney Sunday Matinee. There will be magicians, illusionists, escape artists and mentalists. All ages. $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. http://www.coneyisland.com/events/?program=21
The Rock and Roll Playhouse at Brooklyn Bowl has some exciting shows coming up! These are unique, interactive and educational live music experiences for children. 60 minute concerts, where children explore live music, movement and collaborative activity. For kids 10 and under. $10 person (under 1 are free). On March 19th there is a concert featuring the music of Prince, on March 26th there is a show featuring the music of Fleetwood Mac, and on April 2nd they will feature the music of the Grateful Dead! http://therockandrollplayhouse.com/brooklynbowl
Breakfast with the Animals: Penguins (New York Aquarium, Coney Island): On April 1st from 9am-10:30am learn all about penguins along while having breakfast and enjoying activities like learning to sing like a penguin and carrying eggs on your feet. There will also be a live animal encounter! Ages 3-8 with caregiver. $45 per ticket for non-members, $40 for members (ticket includes an adult and child). Pre-registration is required. http://nyaquarium.com/programs/family-programs
Want to do something active as a family? How about the Brooklyn 15k run, where you can sign up for a 15k, 10k, 5k or a kids 2k run! It takes place in Prospect Park on Sunday, April 16th. http://www.brooklyn15k.com/
It’s Family Earth Day Celebration at the Prospect Park Zoo on April 22nd from 11am-12pm. All ages, $25 for members, $35 for non-members (ticket prices include one adult and one child). Come to the zoo for an Earth Day celebration to discover how the Wildlife Conservation Society is working to protect wildlife and how you can help! Participants will meet animals up close, decorate a flower pot & other activities. Refreshments will be provided. https://prospectparkzoo.com/family-programs
And don’t forget…. the beloved carousel in Prospect Park reopens March 30th!!!