Kids can’t do the same activities they were doing before social distancing, but they can use this time to find new INGs, interests that spark a passion they can pursue. That’s an important first step on the way to discovering a sense of purpose and identity.
How do kids discover an ING? With a little prompting from Mom and Dad. What do you notice your kid doing that seems to capture their attention and bring them joy? Share with them your observations and ask them to confirm. Record the ING and you’ve started a list of activities and interests they already have.
Ask them what it is about the activity that they especially enjoy so they can drill down to specifics. For a kid who likes cookING, what’s the ING they like best: is it planning, following a recipe, or improvising? Record the responses and you and your kid will see a pattern develop as more and more INGs are added. There is now a variety of things that matter that will bring them confidence and inform the person they are becoming.
If your kid’s ING truly is something they’re unable to do right now because they’re home, talk about what within that activity they can continue. A kid who takes TaeKwonDo can still go outside and practice kicks and a budding historian who can’t visit a museum, can research online.
Find an interesting way to display your kid’s list of INGs. They can make a chart, write on a whiteboard, or keep a journal. They can even turn this into an art project like a poster board collage or word cloud. By the time social distancing is over, we’ll know our kids better and they’ll know a whole lot more about themselves!
Hear Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life author Diane Tavenner discuss how kids can discover their INGs on Betsy Jewell’s High School Hamster Wheel podcast.
Download our INGs Tool to help your kid discover and dig deep with the things they enjoy doING.