How to Engage Your Child in Hobbies
Worried about how to get your child to spend her leisure time in a fruitful manner? The answer lies in good old hobbies.
By Parama Gupta
A childhood without hobbies is almost unthinkable. Developing interest in an area and pursuing it as a hobby not only makes childhood an enjoyable journey, but also equips children with effective stress management skills.
However, in the past few years, children’s hobbies have undergone a change. From real world activities, hobbies have moved into the virtual space. For example, video games have replaced physical play and creating art on the computer has replaced drawing and painting.
But, this change hasn’t been entirely free of adverse effects. Over the years, several studies have proved that continuous engagement with technology does more harm than good to children’s overall development.
Therefore, the need of the hour is to revive the age-old, popular hobbies to prevent our children from spending more time with gadgets.
Here’s a list of the timeless hobbies, which will not only divert your child away from the virtual space, but also prove interesting and beneficial.
Maintaining scrapbooks: Most children are sure to love the idea of making beautiful scrapbooks. If your child is young and is in preschool or primary school, then here are a few ideas for making a scrapbook. Cut pictures from newspapers and magazines to stick into the scrapbook and facilitate learning of different concepts such as ‘people who help us’, ‘modes of transport’, and ‘different types of food and their nutritional value’. For older children, scrapbooks can involve tracking news in a particular area of the child’s interest such as sports, politics or movies. This hobby can help build your child’s knowledge in his area of interest or in different spheres. Along with the idea of making a scrapbook, also tell your child how to make it attractive and showcase it to friends, relatives and guests.
Collecting items: Collecting items such as stamps, currency notes and coins of different countries and from different time periods, old artefacts, tickets of different modes of transports, etc., can be a great way for a child to increase her knowledge and to keep herself engaged. But only collecting these items may not prove to be very interesting. Motivate your child to collect items by planning interesting activities with her collection. For instance, you can organise regular exhibitions or competitions in the locality for the best items collected under a particular category of collectibles. So, while it can be leaves of different plants in one week, it could be stamps in the next. By doing this, you can also involve other children from the neighbourhood, which will boost the chances of your child pursuing this hobby.
Drawing and painting, and engaging in arts and crafts: Pursuing a hobby in the fine arts or handwork requiring artistic skills will help your child unleash his creativity and is highly self-fulfilling as well. Enrol him in classes for arts and crafts or try to engage him in DIY activities with some guidance from the Internet. To sustain his interest, make your child take part in drawing competitions organised in his school or in the neighbourhood. You can also make him take part in competitions organised around specific themes such as Road Safety, Environmental Conservation, India of My Dreams, etc. Help your child prepare well in advance for these contests and motivate him to give his best. Winning a prize is sure to provide the incentive for your child to pursue his hobby.
If your child is good at craftwork, then you can encourage him to make customised gifts for friends and relatives.
Once your child improves beyond a certain level, you can also begin thinking about holding an exhibition of your child’s creations.
Practising dance or music: This could involve learning to sing, play a musical instrument or learn a particular dance form, depending on your child’s interest. Once you and your child have decided on a particular activity, enrol your child in training classes, make her practise regularly and reinforce the importance of hard work in mastering any skill. Also, motivate her to be a part of dance troupes or the choir at school or the local community clubs. Encourage your child to take part in neighbourhood programmes, where she will get opportunities to perform in front of an audience. Performing on stage will help your child overcome stage fear and gain confidence that is likely to spill over to other spheres of her life.
Reading books: Very few activities can replace the joy of curling up with a storybook and getting transported to a world different and far away from one’s own. Reading is undoubtedly the most rewarding activity for your child if you wish him to develop skills in language, and creative and analytical thinking. Introduce your child to this hobby by gifting him books appropriate for his age. An even better alternative is to take him along to the bookstore and let him choose books of his own interest. If your child is young, you can also give him company while he reads. But, as he learns how to read by himself, allow him to explore the world of books on his own.
Practising a sport: Needless to say, practising a sport will help develop and maintain your child’s physical fitness. Badminton is a popular choice across all age groups and can be played without much training. So is cycling. If your child shows the inclination for sport, then enrol her in classes of her choice. Depending on her progress, you can also encourage her to pursue the sport at a professional level in the future.
The best way to inspire your child to take up these hobbies and pursue them diligently is to be his role model and give him your company. So, go on and encourage your little one to pursue all of these hobbies if possible or at least one or two to start with.
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