All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. But all the play that kids seem to land these days is within the four walls. Ours was probably the last generation that sought joy and recreation by way of outdoor games and indoor hobbies. Needless to say, kids today spend most of their leisure time by playing expensive video games and surfing the internet on age-inappropriate devices like mobile phones and tablets. Parents are found at a constant struggle between protecting their children from the hazards that come with this new day addiction and heeding to the tantrums of their younger ones. While our parents encouraged us to pursue hobbies, it would be safe to say that we have failed to inculcate the same in our kids.

Hobbies can pave way for kids to progress in multiple ways. Hobbies such as story-writing, clay modelling, painting, etc., help kids in honing their creative abilities. They will be able to visualise and come up with fresh ideas. Weekend plans imply visits to shopping malls, cinema multiplexes and multi-cuisine restaurants with our families. How many of us have taken our kids to a nice library in our locality? Almost none! Hobbies like reading books help in improving the kids’ vocabulary and appreciate different genres of writing. It helps the kids stay occupied until the book is finished and indirectly aids in improving their ability to stay focused. Games like the jigsaw puzzle, chess and scrabble could prove to be highly beneficial in augmenting the intellectual edge of the children. This helps them think quickly on their feet and solve problems logically. This is the stage where the process of self-learning begins and goes a long way into the future in making them independent.

Reasons to get a Hobby: Psychology Today

Kids of present generation for sure face far more anxiety and stress at school than we did. It’s always good to have an interest outside the school. Being involved in such an interest helps them de-stress and improves their mental health. Hobbies might help them identify an area that they’re really good at. This creates a sense of personal accomplishment and helps in building high self- esteem. This might even become the kid’s means of defining oneself at a certain stage in life.

Hobbies like playing sports are a great way to teach kids to be good team players and approach life with extraordinary spirit. Apart from the cognitive and psychological benefits, hobbies teach the kids to be enthusiastic, patient, responsible, hard- working, individualistic, observant and persistent. Hobbies might even help in easing the transition from childhood to adolescence during which mostly children tend to lose focus and be defiant. Also, pursuing hobbies can help kids in making new friends and connect with a lot of new people. This might prove to be a great change from spending hours in front of a computer or an x-box, where you actually get to spend time with people with varied interests.

Hobbies can give a sense of identity and direction to someone who feels lost. A kid learns the two most important lessons from pursuing hobbies: time management and goal setting. These two qualities that they pick up at this age would stay with them till the very end.

Lastly, there is always a good possibility for these hobbies to turn into career choices in the future. (Strategies to turn your hobby into a career) Hence, parents should encourage their kids to pursue the hobby of their interest and not burden them with a long list of activities to attend to. Let us not try to demean or trivialise any of the hobbies of the kids, no matter how unconventional and eccentric they are. If guided and motivated in the right way, pursuing hobbies is an exceptional tool to personal and professional headway for everyone. 

Photo Courtesy: Dr Prem