For parents, it is important to provide your child with as much opportunity to grow and develop as possible. One way of doing this is through encouraging hobbies.
Not only are hobbies fun, but they can also teach lifelong skills and improve self-esteem. Studies have shown that children with hobbies perform better academically, so encouraging extra-curricular activities alongside academic pursuits is essential.
How to Choose a Hobby For Your Child
Many children will develop interests as they grow up, which can be nurtured and developed into a more structured hobby. As a parent, you will easily be able to identify areas that engage your child.
Have you noticed your child loves to sing and dance? Explore dance or music lessons as an extracurricular activity. If you can’t get them to stop colouring and drawing, even to eat dinner, consider an art class or use online tutorials to help them hone their skills.
Are they obsessed with taking things apart to build them again, or are they always in the garden recording the creatures they see? These actions can be considered signs of hobbies children can pursue; read on to find out how, as a parent, you can encourage your child to try something they like.
Observe Your Child’s Interests & Provide Hobby Options
Children can hop from interest to interest every five minutes, so it can be difficult figuring out an area your child might be interested in, and in which it is worth investing extra time and money.
When children are older or more focused, it can be easier to determine which hobbies to pursue but, until then, involving your child in family activities or your own hobbies can give them a chance to show interest. Teachers can also help with suggestions about what your children like to do.
If they enjoy collecting things, give them something interesting to collect that is cheap, be it coins, stamps, cards, rocks or seashells. Show them how they can organise their collection too.
For children who love to spend time outdoors, try gardening or bug collecting. If your child doesn’t sit still, suggest a sport to keep them active. They might be interested in music, and there are plenty of instruments to introduce to them at a young age.
Give Children Space & Equipment to Pursue Hobbies
Hobbies do require some basic supplies, but do start small until your child gets more involved. Ensure they’re passionate before splashing out on something to find they lose interest after a few days.
You might also find space at home where they can do their hobby; just make sure it doesn’t take over the whole house. Additionally, check out classes and clubs near you that they can attend for minimal cost, which can also provide the equipment and knowledge you might not have.
Get Involved in the Hobby Yourself
When children are young and still trying to figure out what they like to do, get involved with what they are doing yourself.
If they are colouring or doing crafty things, join in, either by helping them or doing your own crafting at the same time. Doing the activity alongside them can also teach them how to manage their time spent doing the hobby.
Furthermore, when you show interest, your child is more likely to develop their curiosity and knowledge too.
Be Supportive of Your Child’s Hobbies
Your child may take an interest in something you don’t understand or care for yourself, but remember to be supportive.
Discouraging them can have adverse effects, so keeping an open mind is important. New crazes and trends reach children more quickly than adults, so take the time to talk to them about their new likes.
If it is not something you like, they may lose interest on their own, or you can carefully steer them towards something similar which is more appropriate.
Don’t Push Children into Your Own Hobbies
While it is nice to have your children included in your own hobbies, it is important not to push them into something because you enjoy it. They can quickly end up disliking an activity they are forced to do.
However, if you show your child the hobbies and activities you enjoy doing from a young age, they are likely to follow in your footsteps. For example, demonstrate how much you love to read or play sports, and they might join in.
Respect Their Changing Opinions
The younger the children are, the more likely they will flit between hobbies and things they enjoy doing. There are numerous phases of being interested in one thing before moving on to the next.
Try to avoid frustration at this, as the chopping and changing can help you and your child narrow down the activities they are most passionate about.
Celebrate Their Achievements
Whatever your child’s hobby, remember to support and celebrate their achievements. This could be finishing reading a book on their own, scoring a goal or completing a level on a game. Celebrating their achievements in their hobby means they feel encouraged to carry on.
At our mixed boarding school in Devon, we are always supporting our pupils in their interests and hobbies, be it creative, sporting or academic. If you want to know more about the extra-curricular activities and opportunities at St Peter’s Prep, don’t hesitate to contact us.