Save The Interest, The Trophies Will Come Eventually

This is a sponsored post for Kellogg's Chocos #Khuljaye Bachpan Campaign and was first published on 

Kriti was introduced to the violin at a tender age of 4.
At a concert, she was so mesmerized by the instrument, that she told her parents she wished to learn it.
Her parents found out that there were two types of music schools. One was a homespun, informal affair. The talented teacher in question, taught children who showed an interest and inclination to learn the instrument, at her residence. She adhered to a basic beginner-level curriculum and did not insist on ‘timing’ her students’ progress (or the lack of it).
The other was a professional set up, where children could also train for exams / certifications. They had a strict curriculum, a certain defined age for entry, and an insistence on dedicated practice time every day.
Kriti’s parents wanted only the best for her; and felt that if they sent her to the more formal school, they could, possibly, be looking at raising a “child prodigy!” So Kriti went to the professional music school.
She loved the class and practiced every day. But after about six months, Kriti’s interest began to wane. She began to practice less and less, refused to attend the class, and by the end of the year, seemed to have lost interest in it altogether!
5 year old Akash was born to be an athlete - or so his parents thought.
Since he was a toddler, he loved playing football with the older kids in the colony and he kicked the ball almost like a pro!
His parents started thinking of giving him football training. Then, at the age of 4 Akash was diagnosed with myopia and had to wear glasses. Football became increasingly difficult to play and his parents wondered about their little athlete. Then one day, while watching a Wimbledon match with his Dad, Akash showed interest in learning tennis! His parents were thrilled to say the least. They immediately found the best tennis coaching classes in the area and enrolled Akash there. Their son, the athlete, was finally getting on the right track!
Now the tennis classes, usually did not take in very young children, but they agreed to let the boy play a few shots and then said ‘he would do’. So Akash started his formal tennis training at the age of 5, where he was the youngest of his 6 classmates who were all older kids of 9 and 10 years.
Every class, Akash had to spend 30-40 minutes practicing his backhand and forehand shots; by standing in a line with 5 other kids, with each child getting to hit four shots before going back and standing in his place in the line, waiting for his turn again.
Akash enjoyed his classes very much, came home sufficiently tired and his appetite improved too. Things were going great. Akash also made new friends in his tennis class – the older children who stood in the line with him. And while waiting for his turn, he started chit-chatting and distracting them. The coach, of course, did not approve; and Akash started getting punished regularly. Soon, he was refusing to go for his classes, and eventually, he stopped playing tennis.
Right from when she was old enough to hold a pencil, Kaya would draw beautiful pictures.
She would draw lovely flowers, butterflies, trees, birds, even their family dog – very accurately.
At 5 years of age, her parents got her enrolled in a drawing class. Kaya loved the mixing of colours, the shading of patterns and drawing things she had never drawn before. Her skills got better and better every day and soon she began participating in competitions.
But gradually, Kaya started losing interest in her art. When the school announced drawing competitions for children, she refused to participate. Soon she also started to draw less and less until one day she told her Mom when pestered about it, ‘I cant draw all that well Mommy,…every time I draw something I like, ma’am says I need to draw something better…not just birds and flowers and butterflies… ”
There are so many similar stories all around us. The common thread - children lost interest in something they liked after they joined formal training/coaching classes.
While there could be many reasons for this to have happened, one thing is for sure – the children didn’t take to the formal training as happily as their parents thought they would…
Were the parents wrong in sending their children for hobby classes?
The children were all excited about and loved the activities they were involved in; so why did they lose interest?
The answer might not be very simple; but it would definitely help to bear in mind a few things when it comes to children’s hobbies and encouragement –
1)      Hobbies are fun!
Hobbies are meant to be fun! Hobbies help us unwind. If practice becomes a chore and training becomes compulsion, where is the fun in that?
2)      Maturity matters, not the age.
Structured coaching/training involves discipline, focus and hard work, and very young children may not be ready for this yet. On the other hand, some very young children can display amazing maturity and patience to learn what they like. So it boils down to how prepared your child really is.
3)      Formal or informal setup?
Certain things such as singing or musical instruments cannot be learnt without a formal teacher. In such cases, it helps to look for an informal set up where the teacher is able to keep the child’s interest alive. Of course, some professional coaching places too offer personal attention and one-on-one basis training to children; so it is the best to look for someone your child likes, when they meet them first time and a place which follows a process your child can adapt to.
4)      A happy teacher makes a happy student.
If the teacher is a happy one, the students who learn from him/her will be happy too. Look for a teacher interested in the art/hobby; someone who enjoys the hobby themselves; and enjoys teaching it to children.
5)       Check the right age-group.
Look for a place where children can meet other children who are close to their own age. If all the children are older than your child, the teachers may end up expecting too much of the younger child. Or the child could develop a feeling of inadequacy, or start thinking he/she is not good enough.
Every parent wishes to raise a child prodigy if they can. But child prodigies are meant to be. And if your child is meant to be one, he/she will eventually be one, no matter what. So, instead of hurrying children into formal training/coaching, thereby nipping their talent in the bud; give children time and space to choose if and when to go for formal training. This will help their talent bloom and the interest live on. Let children have a ‘bachpan’ of freedom, of exploring new experiences without any boundaries!



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