By: Mark Ransome
In today’s fast-paced stressed life, even children need to take a little time off with some form of relaxation. However, instead of raising a couch potato who listens to MP3s, plays video games, surfs the Internet or just watches TV, encouraging a child to take up a constructive alternative, such as, a hobby could open a whole new dimension to his life. Parents should support their child in discovering the rewards of having a hobby.
What is a Hobby?
A hobby is a pastime or activity that a child does in his spare time for individual accomplishment. It is something they have an interest in and that they enjoy. It differs from an activity that is forced on them. For instance, a parent may think that her son needs some exercise and signs him up for soccer. While her son may not mind playing soccer, he is not especially enthusiastic about it either. This is not a hobby for him; whereas, a daughter begs to take up ballet. Here she is not only getting exercise, but she lives and breathes ballet. That then makes it her hobby.
What kinds of Hobbies are there?
1. One type of hobby is collecting, such as, key chain, lunchbox, autograph, stamp, trading card, comic book, postcard, doll, spoon, patch or coin collecting.
2. There are educational hobbies. A few of them would be amateur radio, bird watching, genealogy, chemistry or astronomy.
3. Then there are creative hobbies. They could be painting, photography, playing a musical instrument, cooking, scrap booking, building models, HO gauge trains, kite building, wood carving, needlepoint, knitting, sewing and crocheting.
4. Also there are physical hobbies, for example, playing sports, yoga, bicycling, running or hiking.
5. Next there are the games. Many of which can be played in competition. Several are chess, checkers, bridge, gin rummy, backgammon and scrabble.
6. Some are then a combination of hobby types. For instance, hobbies that are a blend of the collecting and educational varieties are rock and mineral, fossil, butterfly, feather, shell and arrowhead collecting. Gardening could be considered both physical and educational; whereas, the art of dance is creative and physical.
What are the Rewards of Having a Hobby?
1. It can promote relaxation.
2. It can encourage physical exercise.
3. The hobby may further advance creativity.
4. Through the process of self-discovery, a child may realize a talent they did not know existed.
5. A hobby can teach. A child may learn about the particular subject they are engaged in and perhaps become an expert. They can learn organizational skills through setting up a collection or planning the next phase of their hobby’s development.
6. It may aid a child in increasing the drive and persistence to attain their goals.
7. Due to self-achievement, the hobby can help in building confidence. For example, when a budding gardener takes some seeds, cultivates the soil, adds the right amount of water and proper sunlight and wins first prize for growing the largest tomato at the fair.
8. It can also aid in developing social skills like how to handle competition with learning to win politely or lose gracefully.
9. The hobby could result into a lifetime passion or eventually turn into a career.
There are very few downsides to having a hobby. Unless, of course, the child becomes obsessed to the point where everything else in their life falls to the wayside. It is the duty of a parent to keep their child on track with what is appropriate and not to allow them to become too fixated on their hobby.
To further the desire to take up a hobby in a child, it is important that the parents have a hobby themselves. They also should attempt to expose their child to various experiences so that possibly their child may form an interest in some area. When an interest seems to develop, parents should support it wholeheartedly. Perhaps take a trip to a museum, show, or exhibit that features the hobby.
However, parents should not demand absolute perfection from the child. They should allow the child to try, fail, and learn from their mistakes. After all, it is their hobby and they should be allowed to explore it their own way. A child who discovers his own personal pursuit will surely reap many rewards from his hobby that he otherwise would not have experienced.
About the Author: Mark Ransome writes articles about trains and model trains for the web site Model Train World. More information on model train help can be found on his blog; http://modeltrainhelp.blogspot.com or http://modelrailroadhelp.com