I was recently a guest on The Dadcast, a sometimes irreverent look at fatherhood by my friend Nick and his cohost Shawn. You can listen to the podcast here or subscribe to it on iTunes. The Dadcast is a little NSFC (Not Safe For Church) but it shouldn’t cause you to stumble too much.
I’m not yet a father but the topic for the episode on which I was a guest was the Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Kid From Becoming a Nerd. I may not have any kids but I definitely know a lot about preventing childhood nerdiness. I basically thought about what my parents did and told Nick and Shawn to do the exact opposite.
Below are three ways to keep your kid from becoming a nerd. Check out the podcast for all five.
Make Them Play Outside
Unless your child has a telescope and an affinity for astronomy, there aren’t that many nerdy things that happen outside. All of my nerdiest childhood activities took place inside: video games, Magic: The Gathering and playing G.I. Joe. If I had spent any amount of time playing outside, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog today. Playing outside involves physical activities like bike riding and stickball, activities that tend to minimize the nerdiness of a child.
I’m a big fan of reading. My Kindle has almost made the elliptical bearable. I also think it’s important for children to read. The problem with most children, though, is that if they read they’re going to get trapped in the Fantasy/Science Fiction section of Barnes & Noble forever. Kids with nerd tendencies are more likely to read anyway. When they start reading, they’ll pick up something with wizards or robots on the cover and their path towards the Nerd Side will be complete. So, to keep them from starting down that path, just discourage your kids from reading; unless they want to read Faulkner, Hemingway or even Tom Clancy.
Don’t Let Them Collect Anything
Most of the nerds I know have some expression of the collector gene. Nerds love to collect all sorts of items, from comic books to movies to cards. I was no different as a young child and my propensity to collect really allowed my nerdiness to flourish. A nerd is nothing more than someone with passion and intense focus; collecting really gives that passion and focus some legs. I spent a large portion of my childhood collecting comics, action figures and cards. Not only was collecting a waste of money, but it also fully committed me to a nerdy lifestyle. If your child wants to start collecting anything tell him no, unless it’s girls’ phone numbers.
There are obviously a lot worse things for your child to become than a nerd. I may have been a nerd staying inside but at least I was a nerd staying out of trouble. I don’t think my kids will really have much of a choice in becoming nerds. Their first movie experience will be Star Wars and I’m going to do my best to find a Starfleet uniform onesie.
Be sure to check out these and other ways to keep your kid from becoming a nerd on the newest episode of The Dadcast.