Parenting Connection: How to help your child find their spark

Parenting Connection

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s Parenting Connection Tuesday and 6 News is here for you with tips, strategies, and helpful reminders from local child development experts on how we can be better parents and guardians.

Today’s topic: Helping your child find their spark

Let’s first learn what a spark is — ultimately, in this case, experts with Michigan State University’s Extension office say — it’s a unique interest in something your child has, and is extremely good at doing it. Sparks can be musical, athletic, intellectual, academic, and relational — and it’s something child development experts say parents need to identify and help their kids flourish in. They add, sparks are not only about what your kids like to do, but it becomes a prime source of passion and purpose in their lives – that in many instances can help put kids on the path to a hopeful future.

According to MSU experts — here are a few good ways to help find that spark in your child:

*Listen closely to what genuinely excites your child
*Watch what your child does in their free time
*Learn your child’s strengths and temperament

In addition, a 5-step approach based on new research involving thousands of teenagers and parents was created to help mom and dad get started and be successful. Those are:

*Recognizing the power of sparks
*Knowing your own child
*Help to discover and reveal your child’s sparks
*Be the captain of your kid’s spark team
*Keep your child’s spark lit

Research shows teenagers with sparks have higher grades in school are more likely to be socially competent, healthy, and to volunteer. Experts also say kids with a spark have a sense of purpose and are less likely to experience depression or engage in acts of violence.

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