Interests, collections, fads... Call them what you want, kids love it. They all have something they like to collect or become an expert in. We have been through Star Wars, Mighty Beanz and recently Trashies which was lightning fast phase, but loved no less passionately. Mr Treechange was particularly glad when Trashies passed, seeing no point at all in spending hard earned money literally on rubbish. I even suspect he helped the passing of that collection phase, bringing home Ninjago.
I love learning about what kids are into. Ask a child what they like to collect and their face lights up. A child who may be behind in spelling or not yet able to ride a bike forgets all those things when they are able to show you they are an expert in something. I use kids interests areas to my benefit all the time. I ask my son to tell me all about who his favorite footy player is while he unpacks the dishwasher. Or a while ago after a nasty fall from a tree Master Treechange had 7 stitches (yes, how retro a fall from a tree! Not an inury from the Wii) and I distracted him by talking all about the latest movie he had watched and was into.
Apart from distraction, interest areas can be great for helping children learn. I have previously blogged about using Tigger to help children learn about when is the right time to bounce for a child who may a little "bouncy" (see, isn't that better than saying hyperactive!). This works well with anything a child is interested in and can relate to. Boys love cars. Using the speed of a car as an analogy for when to calm down or when to do some alerting activities, can be really useful. Talking to a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine about what makes a Really Useful Engine can be a completely different conversation than if you were to lecture about hand washing. This works for teenagers too. It's very hard to get a teenager away from the mobile or lap top, but if they do make eye contact with you don't blow your chance with a lecture about getting ready for school in the morning. Talk to them about how it must be hard to feel like a vampire and be nocturnal, and what could they do to be more like a werewolf who can cope during the day (Twlight fans will get it).
Maybe if Aeriel's dad had taken an interest in her collection instead of banning her from talking to humans things would have gone a little differently. She was just a
Bright young woman,
Sick of swimming,
Ready to stand tall....
What are your kids into at the moment? I'd love to hear how you have made your children's interests work for you.