As a parent, it is always tempting to enroll your child in after-school organizations, sports clubs, and other similarly regulated groups to maximize their entertainment while making sure they stay safe. However, there are a number of benefits to having your child pursue a hobby of his own in his downtime. Here are some ways you can introduce your child to an exciting new hobby.
Why Children Need a Hobby
The key difference between most organized groups and a hobby is that groups are generally adult-directed. Children generally don’t get to choose the order of each week’s meetings, how practice should go, or what project they will focus on. With hobbies, children are given the power of choice. This has many psychological benefits, such as helping to boost self-esteem and problem-solving. Hobbies are also a means of self-discovery; many children’s hobbies end up being part of their careers in later life. Thanks to the education hobbies can provide, your child can increase their knowledge of a topic they are passionate about.
How to Get Your Child’s Hobby Started
To get your child started in a hobby, set an example. Recent studies have found that the majority of children with hobbies have parents with hobbies, as well. While it may be appealing to introduce your child to your passion, you should accept that your child may not necessarily be as passionate about trains as you are. In general, the best hobby is the one that gets children excited and interested. While you can offer advice, try to foster their creativity with a positive attitude and let them experiment. If they are into sports, let them try a range of different sports (this actually reduces the risk of injury, compared to when children commit to a single sport early on). If they’re crafty or scientific, look online for exciting home science projects that let them make their own toothpaste, build a volcano, or create a tornado in a bottle.
The Wonders of Astronomy
As their parent, you are in a unique position to provide options for your child’s hobby that they may not have thought of. A hobby doesn’t need to have a large organized group surrounding it. One of the most interesting hobbies for children and adults alike is backyard astronomy. Children are naturally curious, and the sparkling night sky holds many wonders. All you need to get started are a pair of lawn chairs and a telescope -- look at the crater patterns on the moon and watch how the moon’s appearance changes in its different phases. Regardless of the approach, astronomy can help develop your child’s sense of awe and beauty.
Get Outside Collecting Rocks
Your child may be more grounded, preferring to collect rocks instead of looking at the sky. While your child’s rock collection may look like a plain stack of generic rocks to you, to your child, it’s a carefully organized group of stones arranged, perhaps, by type, or color, or location found. Collections help children develop math skills and practice caring for valued objects, and rock collecting, in particular, gets your child out of the house and into the outdoors, which has been linked to increased levels of happiness.
Introduce Your Child to Music
If your child is always tapping their feet or singing, you may want to introduce them to the joys of music. Learning to play an instrument will give your child the thrill of creation and a skill that will stick with them throughout their lives. Passion is central to music making -- instead of pushing your child toward a particular instrument, try taking them to a large music shop, where they can look at, listen, and test out different instruments to see which one they like the best.
Keep in mind that your child’s hobby doesn’t have to be complicated to bring them joy. Passion is the main thing -- take note of your child’s interests and see if they can be expanded into a full-fledged hobby.
Written by: Maria Cannon of HobbyJr.org
Photo Credit: pixabay.com