Unlock Your Child’s Potential with Thrively

An increasingly common trait of modern parenting is what I call “the search for brilliance” – the illogical and often farcical quest to find some activity or endeavor at which our children can excel. The more we read about 12-year-old grandmasters or teenage pianists performing at Carnegie Hall, the more we load up our kids with after school activities and private lessons, hoping that they will one day be flagged for stardom and a line of agents will start forming at the door.

Fortunately most of our kids survive these bouts of vicarious ambition and end up being perfectly normal teens. But just because they are not going to be the next Bobby Fischer doesn’t mean they don’t have talents. The question then becomes how do we identify those talents and unlock the potential that naturally resides in every child?

This is the goal behind a brand new web site called Thrively. The founders of Thrively teamed up with two California-based neuro-psychologists to develop what they call a “strength assessment” for kids. This comprehensive but friendly series of questions is designed to identify a child’s interests and passions and then match them up with activities that will allow the kids to flourish.

Although the goal of Thrively is to enrich children’s lives, it is primarily a web site for parents, and everything takes place under parental supervision. Although the results of the strength assessment are directed towards the child, it’s clearly up to the parent to screen and help select recommended activities.

I had my 14-year-old daughter take the strength assessment and the results were eerily accurate, suggesting that she would make a good debater (she’s on the debate team at high school) and flagging a gift for languages, even though she hadn’t identified either discipline as an area of interest.

My daughter’s recommended activities varied from online games and tutoring exercises to sleep-away camps and a 14-day trip to China! If you want to look for activities outside the recommendations, there are links to over 100,000 different activities, which can be filtered by age, gender, time of the year, proximity to your house, and various other categories. You can also add activities of your own and group them on personalized “activity boards.”

The site is somewhat intuitive in that it will learn from your past selections. You and your child can “favorite” or “dismiss” activities, and rate the ones that have been completed to help inform other users. The more you use the site, the more it will tailor its recommendations to your child’s preferred activities.

Thrively, which is completely free, is a fascinating experiment in strength-based enrichment, steering children towards activities where they have the best possible chance of enjoyment and success. It also offers invaluable parental support, making families aware of talents and opportunities that could easily be overlooked.

The Online Mom receives a fee for participating in certain promotional programs for Thrively.

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