Hobbies almost naturally come to children and starting them on one or some hobbies should be no effort at all to any parent. Children have the innate curiosity to explore and learn about new things. Sometimes children manifest more intense interest on particular objects, pets or activities than in others, and they indulge themselves in activities that delight them. A little encouragement or nudge from parents to pursue their (children’s) interests almost always starts a hobby.
It is generally acknowledged that hobbies are beneficial to children. Hobbies are not only a source of entertainment for them; they can also be a way for children to express and develop the latent talents and inborn genius inside them; or hobbies like sports, for example, can help children become physically stronger, energetic and adroit; sports also foster team spirit, sportsmanship and respect for rules and fair play. Other hobbies like raising pets help develop a sense of responsibility and concern for others. Parents can help their children develop and sustain hobbies through encouragement and involvement.
Another big benefit of hobbies is that these can be a common ground where child-parent interaction can take place in a relaxed, pleasurable atmosphere. Doing hobbies together on an almost equal or “buddy” basis can enhance the feeling of closeness and trust between child and parent, and help narrow the natural emotional gap between generations.
For parents who seek to encourage their children to develop hobbies, what are the usual options?
Playing Musical Instruments
Children almost automatically delight in playing musical instruments even before they are able to do other things like walk or talk, if such an instrument is available to them. A parent’s spending time and involving himself/herself with the child toying with the piano or guitar or other musical instrument, and later allowing the child to take formal training, will almost certainly lead to developing a passion for music.
Interest in sports in the case of children of parents who themselves are passionate about sports, is almost always “inherited.” This is true especially where the parents play with the children or involve the children when they engage in a sports or game.
Car, boat or airplane models are very popular among young boys and it is common to see many of them save up on their allowances or work to earn money to be able to gradually add to their collection. Some models involve putting together pieces and this can require picking up special skills. Delight and a sense of accomplishment in being able to successfully build a model is a precious reward that a child will remember for a long time. A shared hobby among boys encourage them to play together, share experiences and skills related to that hobby.
Children enjoy the challenge of building miniatures of house, bridges and other structures. Girls enjoy setting up doll houses. This hobby can involve a lot of related activities such as designing, painting and sewing which enhance the children’s creativity and aesthetic talents.
Toys like Lego give children enjoyable challenge of either following printed patterns for constructing model structures or to improvise and create structures based on their own imaginations and fancies.
Raising and Maintaining Pets
Children naturally relate to pets and domesticated animals. Involving children in the care or raising of pets is a widely accepted way of fostering in the children a sense of concern and responsibility for others.
Hobbies are a wonderful way for a child and his parents to discover and develop the child’s inborn talents and passions. And many men and women have eventually pursued successful careers and professions to which they feel a natural aptitude and predisposition because of certain hobbies they have had since childhood.