When it comes to hobby and leisure time, your child has probably got an idea of what they like to do, whether it’s playing on the computer or watching television. But if you think it’s time to try something new, you need to help them transition from their current hobbies and pursuits to something that will be fun and challenging enough that they won’t get bored easily.
For many children, one of the first indicators that they are growing up and becoming more independent is that they take an interest in something new and start doing it on their own. Whether this means joining the school band or taking up gymnastics, it’s an exciting part of childhood that both parents and kids should be proud of. If you want to encourage your kids to try out new hobbies, you can start by following these seven tips.
List Down Your Kids’ Interests
Even if you’re not sure how these interests could translate into hobbies, keep them on hand for now. That way, when you come across an appropriate opportunity— whether it’s at school or through friends and neighbors — you can encourage your child to give it a try. Just remember that whatever new pursuit they decide to take on should be something both parent and child are excited about. If you’re unsure about your level of enthusiasm, consider who will be doing most of the work: Are you willing to take time out of your schedule every week to help teach or practice? If so, great!
Help Your Child Explore
It can be easy for children to feel like they’re being pushed in one direction or another, whether it’s school, hobbies, or other interests. To help ensure that your child is open to new experiences and adventures, be sure you always express interest in and enthusiasm for what they are doing. The more you show excitement about their passions, the easier it will be for them to share those passions with others!
Don’t Pressure Them
No one likes being pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. Children are no different. If you push them into taking an interest in a hobby, it may backfire. Pushing them too hard may result in resentment, and they could even take an interest in things that are ultimately harmful. As long as they’re staying safe and happy, allow them some freedom of choice when it comes to their hobbies.
Expose Them to New Things
Even when you think your kids are interested in one activity, there’s no harm in exposing them to something new. It may turn out that they already like tennis but don’t realize it until you sign them up for a class or take them out for play dates with other kids who play tennis. Many parents seem hesitant to allow their children to do things on their own, such as stay at home alone.
Let Them Engage With Other People
When you’re a kid, it can be hard to find friends who share your passion for chess or skydiving. Encouraging them to take part in activities outside of school that bring them into contact with other people like clubs and teams will help keep their minds open and help them discover new interests. You can also enroll your kids in after-school programs that will provide them with access to tutors, mentors, and enrichment opportunities such as art classes and music lessons. Exposure to new hobbies is one of our key ways to stimulate brain development!
Learn From What Doesn’t Work
Whether it’s an interest you already have or one you want to explore, find out what others don’t like about it before attempting it yourself. That way, if things don’t go well, you can chalk it up to them not being right for that particular hobby rather than something inherent in your child. And if they do enjoy a new interest, then you can learn from their example and avoid making those same mistakes with other hobbies.
Your kids will need your support, no matter what they choose. And if you don’t have an interest in whatever it is they end up choosing, be supportive anyway. If it’s soccer or piano lessons, support them and let them know you’re proud of their decision and will do whatever you can to help them succeed. The easiest way to crush someone’s dreams is with negativity! Let your child know how much you love spending time with them and helping out, even if that means getting involved with their hobbies occasionally.
Children need to develop hobbies and interests in their early years. A hobby can act as an important way for children to express themselves, learn new skills, make friends, stay fit and even earn money. There are many ways you can encourage your child or teenager to pick up a new hobby. You should provide them with multiple options that they can choose from.