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Narrow V's Broad

12 March
Posted by:
Michael Grose

Children in primary school and below should stay generalists in what they do.

Sure, let them do activities that play to their strengths. If a child shows a flair for art, wants to do art then by all means, encourage them to take art lessons.
But don’t let this be all they do. Don’t let them corner the market on an interest or niche too early. They can lock themselves in, and forget about balance.

Developmentally, childhood is a time of exploration where kids try different activities and interests that contribute to their broad repertoire of abilities.

Adolescents tend to be specialists where they begin to hone in on their areas of strength.

Many kids around thirteen or fourteen give up doing activities that they struggle at, and continue those activities that define or contribute to their identities.

Hopefully, these will be positive activities (sport, certain subjects, fashion, performing arts, et al) but if not, they may well spend time and energy in negative activities ( drugs, poor behaviour, couch sitting et al).

Options are important at this age.

That’s why children should be samplers and explorers, so they have a broad base of activities to choose from when they narrow down in adolescence.

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