Part of the magic of early childhood is that it seems like a time of infinite opportunity. These kids could become anything! Dream big, work hard, and the sky's the limit. The "hard work" part will come later (we hope), but it's never too early to start cultivating a child's dreams.
Here are six ways to do just that:
1. The process begins with helping our kids discover what they love. We expose them to a world of possibilities through books, stories, and libraries; maps, museums, and travel; through meeting a wide range of people and engaging in conversation with adults; through volunteer work; through the chance to try a wide range of activities; and much more.
2. Children's interests tend to range all over the map when they are small. But when they hit on something they love, we do what we can to support the dream. Maybe that means lessons and outings. Maybe it means checking out books on the subject, or finding toys related to the theme. Later on, it might mean visiting places that connect, arranging afterschool activities, purchasing tools and materials, or meeting with people in the field.
3. Very often children's passions have very little to do with what they are doing in school. Making space for dreams that fall outside the usual kid-curriculum is an important part of supporting them. We willingly sacrifice both time and physical space in our homes to make space for their dreams.
4. An important part of dreaming and planning involves visualizing what might be. Talking with our kids about their dreams, or prompting them to draw or write about their ideas can deepen their exploration and our understanding.
5. As we support our kids' big dreams, we want to be sure to separate their dreams from ours. They are unlikely to be identical or even similar, and that's something all parents must learn to accept and celebrate.
6. Finally, we can show our kids how to dream big by doing so ourselves. We may be parents, but that doesn't mean that our individual dreams must forever be put on hold. By continuing to pursue our own aspirations, we demonstrate to our kids the true value of dreaming big.
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