Encouraging a kid to try

Written by Erin Hill. Posted in Diaper Duty

User Rating:  / 1


I’m not into making my kid do stuff (except the things you have to do to live and be nice to people). My goal is to have him try, and if he’s not into it, leave it at that.

This is difficult. I'm not trying to raise a slacker. There’s a fine line between him trying and genuinely not liking it and letting him give up. Plus, he’s only two (almost three). How do I figure out if he’s just being two?

I do not want him to give up. He is two, but I think you can teach any aged kid a lesson – it’s all in the approach and understanding that they might not get it the first, second, or tenth time you tell them. Also, I do believe he knows what he wants (and doesn’t want) to do. He’s human!

My brother and I were both made to do stuff – I was in dance classes about 10 years too long, and he still can’t have anyone tell him what to do. These are our issues, but it’s an experience that has me worried about forcing rather than guiding.

Last month Lincoln participated in a tumbling class one day a week for two weeks. He rolled, cartwheeled, he smiled, he was proud. The third week, he wasn’t into it so we sat to the side and watched the other kids participate. I encouraged him a few times to go try the new stuff the kids were doing or further perfect a move he’d done the week before, but he wasn’t having it. He said he wanted to watch. He was coming off an illness so I thought that’s what he needed at the time – to relax and observe.

The next week, he wanted to sit and watch again. I told him we weren’t there to watch, he was there to tumble, and if he didn’t want to, we’d leave and try it again another time. He stood there, looked at the kids, looked back at me and said “I wanna go home.” After confirming that’s what he wanted to do and really feeling like he had made a decision, we left. That was that. He didn’t cry or even mention it after.

I’m cool with it.

I will ask him again in January if he wants to go back. In the future, I’ll ask him if he wants to play baseball, do karate, play an instrument, etc. I intend to make sure he knows what’s available to him in this world and have him pick. However, “nothing” is not an option. I will make him do something.

How do you encourage your kids to participate in something? What’s your limit on how long you have them in an activity they say they don’t like before taking them out?

Erin Hill is a ErinHillfirst-time mom to Lincoln, who was born in January 2010. She's learning as she goes and is experiencing everything a new mom goes through while seeing the humor, irony, and enjoyment in her adventures.


Erin is a full-time technical writer, a freelancer for Patch, and co-creator and blogger at SlimSavers.com. She lives in Plum with Lincoln, her husband, Adam, their dog, Roxie, and five (yes, five) cats, Nirvana, Gary Roberts, Elvis, Talbot and Forrest. (Anyone want a cat?)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.