How to Encourage Children’s Interests

Parents and teachers are always learning how to encourage children’s interest at home or in the classroom. Maybe you see signs of talent that you’re eager to develop. Maybe you’re concerned that they need more constructive options for filling their leisure time. Plus, you may just be tired of hearing that they’re bored.

For young children, parents are their first teachers who help them gain learning experiences which in turn is a great way for them to develop their own interests. For high school students, they might be more independent when it comes to exploring their interests to enhance their future and deepen their love for learning.

Parents and teachers are always learning how to encourage children's interest at home or in the classroom. Read more on the blog.

How Can Parents and Teachers Help Develop a Child’s Interests?

Parents and teachers can help children be interested in learning by:

  • Providing opportunities to explore or learn about things that they’re already interested in.
  • Nurturing their interests with questions and further opportunities for them to grow their talents.
  • Leading by example to show how much you value learning and exploration of interests.
  • Encouraging their interests by thinking about ways they can use those talents to contribute to the world around them.

There are various ways on how to encourage children’s interest. Parents and teachers should learn how to inspire young children’s passion for learning while also helping older students foster that enthusiasm in more advanced ways.

Talk It Over and Use Your Children’s Interests in the Learning Process

Your child’s passions may be easy to observe, or you may need to work a little harder. Ask them what they like about their favorite things. Listen closely to their answers. Take the time to learn about the new things they are interested in by asking open-ended questions. Parents and teachers can keep the lines of communication open to find out if children are interested in particular activities.

Sometimes kids may not know what they’re capable of, so it helps to provide them with opportunities to pursue things that interest them from a very early age.

In doing this, parents and teachers will help children be more confident in their abilities, which will encourage them to keep trying and learning.

Start by asking open-ended questions such as:

  • What kinds of things do you like to play with?
  • Do you think there are other things you’d like to try?
  • What kind of music is your favorite?
  • Do you like to read certain topics?
  • What activities would you like to do at home, school, or in the community?

This helps children form a fresh idea of their interests while getting them talking about them. It also gives parents and teachers a chance to hear what they have to say so they can guide them to try new things and pursue their interests.

Fostering a Child’s Interest at Home

Try these suggestions for helping your child to figure out what they enjoy doing and what they excel at. Try getting other family members involved too and all work together to find the best way to develop your children’s interests.

Be flexible. Are you less excited about dinosaurs than you used to be? Maybe your child is suddenly interested in comic books. It’s natural for kids to outgrow their old passions. That’s especially true if they start hanging out with a new crowd.

Block out free time. One effective way to foster your children’s interests is to let kids become bored occasionally. They need unstructured time to do their own critical thinking and experimenting. Leave some slots open in between soccer practice and piano lessons. At an early age, make time for imaginative play.

Offer resources. Create an enriching home environment. Build a rotating collection of books, art supplies, and educational toys and games.

Mind your budget. On the other hand, you could go broke trying to keep up with interests that may be expensive and fleeting. Maybe you can rent musical instruments or buy a used mountain bike. In this 21st century, children can learn new things through electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. In fact, it is one of the fastest ways of learning. Head to the library to access loads of information.

Provide recognition. Let your child know that you’re proud of their efforts. Display their artwork in your home. One first step is to recognize your child’s strengths and their particular interests and build off of those.

Share your interests. Talking about your own hobbies is another way for parents and children to bond. Invite your child to join you in cooking a meal or shopping for antiques. Just be sure to let them make their own decisions, rather than pressuring them to adopt your tastes.

Maintain balance. A well-rounded development usually increases the chances for happiness and success. Teach your child to try a variety of things and juggle different responsibilities. This will help them develop their own passions.

Fostering Your Children’s Interests Away from Home

Kids who attend school spend about 6-7 hours a day in the classroom and then sometimes 1-2 more hours on the sports field or other extracurricular activities. Parents can continue to encourage children to develop their personal interests and sense of self outside of the home.

Ask their teacher. There may be different things to integrate your child’s interests into their school curriculum. Talk with their teacher about elective courses, independent study, extra credit work, and after-school programs.

Join a club. Reach out to others with similar pastimes. Search online or check for resources in specialty magazines and shops. A child’s sense of belonging will increase when they get to hang out with others who enjoy the same types of activities

Schedule a camp or visit learning centers. For an immersive experience, consider a themed camp such as camps for aspiring astronauts, outdoor activities, or amateur gymnasts. Contact your local art and science museums to find out more about their on-going programs. This is a great way for an older child to learn about their passions and develop a love of learning.

Plan a vacation. Make your family vacation extra special by letting your child plan activities based on their interests. Help them to research attractions at your destination. For a road trip, plan a route where you can stop off to see popular beaches, skateboard parks, or schedule a different meaningful experience.

Visit your library. For more ideas and resources, you can count on your community library. Check their monthly calendar for children’s events and classes. Search the collection for books and other media. See what suggestions the librarians have to offer.

Examples of Children’s Interests

  • If your child is still struggling to find what their interests are, here are some specific examples:
  • Playing imaginary games
  • Reading books about cats and dogs
  • Watching YouTube videos of creation and destruction using toy construction sets like LEGOs.
  • Learning how to play a musical instrument like the guitar or piano.
  • Creating interesting art projects such as painting, drawing, or sculpture.
  • Being physically active like playing basketball, yoga, or running.
  • Collecting trading cards.
  • Learning about all the different seashells.
  • Superheroes.
  • Freight trains.

Need More Help? Try a Checklist

If you need more ideas to spark a child’s sense of wonder, there are several checklists available online:

Early Preschool Checklist – developed for children up to 18 months of age

Childs Interest Activity Checklist

Help your child to pursue their interests, so they can use their strengths and lead an active life. You may also develop a greater appreciation for their individuality and help them to enjoy many meaningful experiences in life.