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Share Your Hobbies With Your Child

Be a Cheerleader

If it's your child who is getting frustrated, praise her efforts and help her focus on her improving abilities rather than the end product. "You have to nurture your children, bring them along. Think of them as apprentices. There should be a lot of instruction and encouragement and little criticism," agrees Elias. Always try to find something positive about what your child is doing. Say "I think this project is better than the last one" or "Remember last week when you needed help holding the paintbrush? You don't anymore." Let her know that this is not a command performance or a race, but a journey.

If she veers off course, ask questions that might help her recognize her goofs ("Wow! You put the smokestack on the model ship all by yourself! I wonder how the smoke actually comes out? Maybe we should put the open part on the top rather than the bottom. What do you think?").

Also, help your child recognize her mastery of new terrain by supplying the right gear. Debbie Cougle of Daytona Beach, Florida, has been sharing her love of crafts with her two children, Amanda and Aaron, ages 12 and 16, ever since they could hold a crayon. As they became more proficient at crafts like calligraphy and painting T-shirts, Cougle presented them with their own tools. "At one point, Amanda wanted a hot glue gun," says Cougle. "I told her that as soon as she learned to handle mine safely and responsibly on her own, I would buy her one. That inspired her to work even harder, and finally, when she was 11, she earned it."

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