Do we encourage our children to dream?

by | May 26, 2019 | Education | 0 comments

Have you ever experienced your child telling you something like:

“Mommy, I want to fly once..can we go fly with a plane sometime?”

Or: “Mommy, see those beautiful ballons over there!”

Often we’re busy with something else and try to settle the matter quickly:

“Yeah, we can do that/buy that sometime. But at the moment we don’t have the money/opportunity/time, etc. Now go play..”

Or maybe your child tells you:

“Mommy, I want to be a firefighter someday!”

We sometimes tend to respond with answers like:

“Yeah, but you do know that being a firefighter is dangerous, do you?” or

“You want to be a pool attendant? Well, the pay scale of a pool attendant is somewhat low..”


I have found myself in situations like these time and again.

Talking with other parents, we tend to smile at our children’s dreams.

“My child wants to be an explorer, when he/she grows up”!”

“Yeah, mine wanted to be a ranger last week. This week, it’s trash collector”

A burst of laughter sometimes follows from all sides.

Does this sound familiar?

Recently I was reading the book  ” Understanding children’s emotions“, by Isabelle Filliozat (highly recommendable) when I stumbled upon the revelation that children often don’t see this as the final plan.

Instead, they just love to dream.


Why don’t we just let them? In fact, why don’t we even join them.

“You want to fly? What a great idea! We would take place in that plane and oh, let’s sit right in the front, ok? Then we’ll buckle up, the pilot adds thrust to the plane and sloooowly we accelerate on that runway..and then, wheeeeeee, we take off. Can you see the earth down there? Wow, beautiful!”


By the time you’re finished dreaming with your kid, he or she will be saturated and move on to other things – or, if their dream is deeply connected to their personality, maybe this is the path breaking start of something big in their life.

Children can be so hilarious.
While little, they aren’t scared to dream. They don’t limit themselves.
Why not become a trash collector? They don’t care about the social status or the financial income. Maybe they simply see those strong men, able to stand behind that trash car, riding like that from house to house.
Now this is adventure!

I don’t know about yours, but some of my personal dreams are put on a hold. Some are shattered. Some, I realized growing up, aren’t really feasible.

What does that do with me – and how will this influence my response to the dreams of my children?

Am I becoming cynical?
Am I smiling  at the dreams of my children?

 As I was working on this article, my niece told me:

“Jeanne, I want to become a queen!”

Now, my niece lives in India most of the time, the background of her Indian roots is the lowest class possible.

How do I respond to such a declaration? Do I laugh at her childish naivety, knowing that she’ll never be a queen, no matter whether she will live her adult life in India or Switzerland?
Or do I smile bitterly, thinking about my dreams that never became reality ?

I want my children to dream. And I want to lead them right into them.

How can I do that?

For this article, I came up with four points to help us better understand the reality and importance of dreaming for our children – and how we can encourage and guide them to enter into what they really are to live their dreams even if this world that is far from being a fairy tale.

1. Dream with your child


It is one of the more wonderful opportunities to bond with our children, when we join them in their dreaming. We will be able to awaken imagination in them. We can guide them and we can even open doors to dreams and ideas they hadn’t even thought about so far.


2. Don’t push your child into long-term commitments too early

So your 6-12-year-old child dreams about playing drums?

Imagine you’ve heard that dream of your child for some time and you decide to fulfill it by buying him or her a brand-new quality drum set, along with a year of drum lessons.

The possibility is there that this child is delighted and enthusiastic… for the first few weeks.

“Mom, I don’t want to play the drums any more, I want to play the piano!”

I can understand why you wouldn’t think that this is such a good idea.
Maybe your answer would be:

“Oh no, you don’t! We bought you this brand new quality drum set and one year of drum lessons. You’re going to play the drums all the way to the end of the year and even longer! 

However, by knowing that the age between 6-12 is a perfect time we can empower our kids to discover their unique skills, gifts and talents, you do much better to rent or lend a drum set for them. And maybe you better commit your kid to lessons for only three months.
So, if your child tells you: 

“Mom, I don’t want to play the drums any more, I want to play the piano!”

You can tell your child:

“Oh, I love your idea! I guess you will be very good at playing piano.
But first, you go ahead and play the drums for three months. After that, I will be delighted to see you learn the piano!”


3. Help your child discover who he or she really is

Dreams can be that first spark of the expression of one’s personality. How important will it be to not extinguish those first sparks right away. Instead, just let the dream stand. If there is something deeper behind it, more will follow. If not, your child will move on to other things or realize that the dream has awakened something that is not exactly it, but it goes in that direction. Dreams can really help discover one’s talents, passions and personality.

4. Don’t limit their dreams by your reality

Everyone has shattered dreams. Since it’s good advice to net let those limit one’s own potential, it is even more important not to keep your kids (and people around you in general) from dreaming.

Not all dreams lead to something big, but almost all big things have started with a dream, with a vision. So let’s build a foundation together with our kids, on which they can dream. It’s such a fun process which awakens the imagination of our children and ourselves.


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