Welcome to 2016, where video games and the Internet rule over all. It seems like kids these days are a lot happier sitting around and fiddling with their smartphones, fixated on whatever their favourite celebrity is saying on Twitter. ‘Play’ is now sitting in front of the TV and playing on a PlayStation or an Xbox for hours on end.
Hey, I don’t want to insult the Internet and video games too much. I love them too! But ultimately these things can feel unfulfilling. They don’t get your blood pumping the way exercising and learning new physical skills do.
In case you hadn’t already guessed it, I’m bringing this article round to this question. “How do I get my kid to learn a new skill?” Plenty of kids have the ambition within them. When they see their favourite soccer players on television, they’re inspired. When they see their favourite rock stars busting out insane guitar solos, they want to do that too. So what’s the problem? It’s usually that they know how much time and effort getting that good takes. Look at guitar playing, for example. I remember when I was a kid, picking up a guitar for the first time. I strummed for a few minutes and got immediately frustrated because what I was playing sounded nothing like Kurt Cobain.
In order to get kids to persevere with a new skill, follow these tips.
Make sure they know how it will be hard, but also that it will pay off. When I first picked up that guitar I was about eight years old. I gave up quickly. No-one really encouraged me to play. I picked it up again in earnest when I was fifteen. I was still frustrated that I couldn’t already play, but I persevered! It’s because I realised something. If I’d have stuck to it when I was eight, I could have been pretty darn good at fifteen!
No-one told me this, though. Make sure your kid knows that the payoff of the hard work is completely worth it. You should encourage them to see their favourite stars during training. Let them see the hard work that resulted in greatness. This will make the hard work less of a shock when they get round to doing it!
Give them quality equipment with which to practise. This is more important that you might think. If the equipment they’re using doesn’t give them a good experience, then they may be put off of learning altogether.
For example, a budding guitar player might be put off if they’re practising on a cheap guitar with high action. A keen soccer player isn’t going to feel very inspired if their ball keeps going flat. There are several products out there that can improve your child’s experience here. Even budding golf players have the Real Feel Mat™ to simulate comfortable golf hitting!
Most importantly: keep it fun! It should be hard work, yes. But it should also be fun. Set them certain goals. If they hit those goals, then treat them to something relevant to their pursuit! If you have a child who loves the ballet, take them to a ballet performance to treat them for weeks of solid work. Hard work is, of course, rewarding in itself – but an actual reward never hurts!
There are also a bunch of fun learning materials online for loads of subjects. Books aimed at children learning new skills are often written to be engaging and funny, so they’ll have a blast reading them! Check a local bookstore for any children’s reading material on their chosen pursuit.