How To Keep Bright Children Engaged In Hockey
Are you one of the parents who has an extremely bright child? They pick things up really quickly, and are constantly looking to better themselves. They learn new things at an unbelievable rate and excel the moment they learn it. My own son was like this, so I have lived experience of it.
Sometimes it is hard to keep them happy because they are constantly striving to better themselves and learn more and more. They pick up something new and strive to master it, quickly, which usually works.
What then has them become unengaged and just showing up? Bottom line, they are bored. These children want challenge, they want to be excited to be learning something new and challenging themselves.
If you have been around your bright child, some people label them as ‘Gifted’ you will know that they excel at most things they pick up. Their minds work at a different level to most of us. Some children have photographic memories, so remember things ten times better than others.
These children are also the ones that put a lot of pressure on themselves. It is their own inner pressure to be extremely good at what they do. This is something to keep in mind as you are watching them.
Here are some of the ways to help keep these bright sparks engaged:
Talk to Them
Your child has a mind that is constantly thinking. They enjoy engaging and talking about things. One of the issues they have is that other children, who aren’t like them, can’t communicate at their level. That makes it hard for them to have a deep and meaningful conversation, one that engages your child.
One of the biggest gifts you can give your child is to be interested in them and the way they think. Talk to them about their skills. Have conversations about top players and what they notice about their play, for example.
Be a sounding board for their mind, the way they think about things. Engage and talk through their approach to things. They will thank and love you for it as these children often feel isolated. Whilst on the outside this may not seem to be the case, inside it is. They are different to the majority of other children so they feel a certain isolation that it is not always easy for them to express.
Give Them a Challenge
Your bright, gifted, or talented child loves a challenge although I probably don’t have to tell you that do I. It’s something you already know. So, with their hockey journey it’s all about giving them new challenges every now and then.
Find a different way for them to practice a skill they already know. Let them try something they haven’t done before. Get them to do a few more repetitions of a drill. Make it fun and make it a challenge.
You know when you’ve got this right because you will receive the biggest smile and see the light in their eyes shine brightly. They will go all out to do your challenge and complete it, that is who they are.
Praise Their Efforts
Because these children exist in our world we might often forget to praise them. They seem to pick things up so quickly, make everything hard look easy, and work there little butts off to do anything and everything they are asked, and more if possible.
Deep down inside these children don’t believe in themselves, not as much as you think. Yes, they have talent, and they desire praise, the same as any other child. Just because some things are easy for them, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve praise.
Having parented a gifted child, whilst on the surface things look okay, underneath that façade it is not always the case. Take care of your preciously gifted child. They are special and that means they may need a little extra care when you least expect it.
Having trouble with the mental side of the game of hockey? Karen Cherrett, Mental Skills Coach coaches players to understand how their thoughts impact their game; Parents how to support their child's mental wellness; and Coaches to understand mental skills management for their players.