Fruit Shoot has talked to UK parents, and 80% of them feel their kids are under pressure to grow up too quickly, achieve academically, and live up to the expectations of society, and that this is getting in the way of their ability to truly express themselves and discover what makes them happiest. We all want our kids to have the freedom to discover and indulge in their passions – the thing that makes them happiest, because when they do it helps them be the best they can be, right?
We were recently sent a hamper full of items to help the children explore and discover, and we spent the weekend letting them take the lead, letting them decide what interested them, and what they would like to do. Saturday was a day of making and trying out our own bouncy balls.
In conjunction with Dr Ranj Singh, Fruit Shoot has created advice and information for parents and Fruit Shoot will also giving away prizes on their Facebook page to help kids find and indulge in their ‘things’ – which could be anything! Whatever makes children feel unique, develop their identity, connect with others and escape from routine. It’s My Thing is not about talent and ability. It’s about celebrating children’s passions, interests and hobbies whatever their level of ability, skill or engagement. Jacob’s main ‘thing’ is definitely football, he eats, sleeps and dreams football. It is the thing that makes him happiest, but there are other things below the surface too – he loves nature, he loves the outdoors and he loves animals.
59% of parents think that 7-12 is when kids are first affected with how people see them, and become self aware, and I would agree with that. Jacob is 8, and is definitely starting to become aware of what people expect of him. 62% of parents also said that this age is when kids begin to be affected by the opinions around them – and again, I agree.
With this in mind, we have decided to take steps to nurture our children’s ‘things, by exposing them to new things so they can explore potential passions and interests and taking advantage of local activities and clubs. I think it is so easy to try and ‘mould’ them into what we thing they will like, when actually we should be giving them more free time to search and discover for themselves what they’re interested in. We intend to spend a lot more time allowing the children free rein over what we spend our weekends doing – allowing them to take the lead this weekend meant that everyone was happy and motivated, there were no arguments or disagreements, and all the children discovered new things that they loved.
Does your child have a ‘thing’? What are their interests, and how do you help them to explore those?