“My kids love dinosaurs! Ok I am being modest ….they are obsessed, really really obsessed”, they know all the dinosaur types and names, God why can’t I remember how many are there in all?, said a Mom who loved dinosaurs too, a long time ago!
“My daughter has an obsession for cars and has many toy cars. She doesn’t break them ever. Instead she loves to collect them and park them in various places in the house, some times those places are under our feet and a whole lot of household members are tripping on them always”, said another mom who is amazed at her daughter’s knowledge about different kinds of cars!
Child Development experts call obsessions like these a “Deep Intense Interest”. We educationists don’t know exactly what sparks these interests and parents often can’t think of the exact moment or event that kicked off this interest — but almost more than 30% of all children have one at some point, between the ages of two and six and for some the interest lasts further into childhood. Studies in this field have shown that the most common interests that children show at early age is in vehicles like planes, trains, cars and the next most popular interest is in dinosaurs.
For many of these children, these obsessions are their first taste of mastery. They love being an expert. To have a deeper understanding of something their parent doesn’t know enough about, is awesome for them. It makes them feel like a boss and very powerful. Kelli Chen, a known peadiatric psychiatric occupational therapist is of the opinion that these deep interests and obsessions are a big confidence booster for children. They have huge benefits and help a lot in children’s cognitive development. Many studies in this area point out that these sustained obsessive interests help them to develop persistence skills and result in increased knowledge, a longer attention span and much deeper information-processing skills. In nutshell they make intense learners pretty smart and bright. Decades of research suggest that older children with these so called obsessions and intense interests tend to be of above-average intelligence.
So let your kids develop intense interests and don’t worry about their obsessions. Encourage their need to know more and learn more and more about their favourite topic. Help stimulate their brains by getting them books on the topic and surround their environment with things that can help them in sustaining these obsessions to learn for a long long time.