So your kid is awesome.
You know this, but they’re not showing this.
All those passing interests have faded, and now they just want to watch tv.
Note; If you don’t have TV or don’t let your kids use anything with a screen for more that an hour a day, you can skip this reading. I give you kudos for having strength of will. For those of us who don’t have the strength or have fallen off the wagon, read on.
What do you do when your kids have no interests? How do you get that interesting kid back who was interested in so much?
I have recently walked this road and thought I’d share what I learned:
1) Turn off the TV!
(This post could have been titled How TV sucks the life out of your kids and you too that matter.) We are TV free Sun-Thurs. We let our kids keep the tablet due to educational games they like to play. Also so they don’t think us freaks, or complain about our use of internet/phones. The tablet does have a 1 hour time limit per day now. Without TV our kids interests quickly came to the surface. However, sometimes you might have to give…
2) A Gentle Push
It’s the dreaded “I’m bored” whine. And while I applaud those parents who reward that comment with chores it might be the case that your kid really doesn’t know what he wants to do. So be sure to have books on hand on all kinds of things; woodworking, sewing, painting, etc. Take them to the library and turn them loose in the hobby section and tell them to bring back 3 books of interest. You can also involve them in what you like to do. If you knit, hand them needles and yarn. It might not be for them but its at least got them closer to something they would like.
3) Do it with them
My daughter owns books on art, sewing, and crafting of every kind. But she never used any of them. Then one day she asked me to help her and my response was the usual “not now, I’m busy making dinner”. That made me think of how many times she asked me that and got the same blow off? In my defense I did need to make dinner right then. We had to eat ya know? The question was how to get her to ask when I wasn’t busy. Then the slap your forehead answer of “Schedule It!” came to me. I sat down with her and told her we had 2 nights per week free. She could pick what she wanted to do on them but it must be in advance. We have a standing date of baking and sewing every Tues and Weds respectively. We decided then what the 1st 2 projects would be so I could have the supplies on hand. From now on at the end of our “hobby” time she will decide the next week’s projects.
4) Put them in a class
If it’s something they haven’t shown interest in before, you may want to stick them into a short class, therefore a cheaper one. Summer camps are great for trying out archery, soccer, sewing, etc. A class that meets one time, such as at Michael’s for a morning, will give them a taste without you needing to buy a bunch of gear. A long standing interest or a strong passion may be kept burning by a long class. My daughter has always liked swimming so we made an investment of time and money into a 4 month intensive swim lesson.
5) Still can’t get them off the screen?
Maybe they already found their passion. I’m not a business exec, but it’s safe to say most future jobs/careers will be computer based. So a vast knowledge of all things software isn’t bad to have. So if you can’t beat them, join them. Try giving them a code book and telling them to design you a video game. Got a YouTuber that can’t get enough? Let them set up their own channel and create a show. You can keep it private to avoid any unwanted attention. Instill in them the desire not only to use it but create new versions of it. Enroll in a class, put them in a tech camp, have them read a book about it or the people who made it. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be reading about the tech breakthrough your kid made one day.
6) Model interests of your own
Get off the tv too! Pick up that long lost hobby. Let them see you have more interest in something tangible than in the latest Facebook post on your feed.
Do you have any other suggestions? I’m walking this walk right now so would love to hear your thoughts.