The hobbies that we enjoy most in our adult lives are usually the ones that we’ve pursued since childhood, and every parent wants their child to find a hobby that they’re equally as passionate about. After all, hobbies are great for developing a child’s sense of self-worth and self-esteem, as well as helping to build a wider social circle, but pinpointing exactly what activity your child will fall in love with isn’t easy – after all, there are just so many to choose from!
However, there are plenty of things that you can do as a parent to help your child to discover their favourite hobbies, and more importantly, stick to them. Here are five tips to unlock your child’s innermost interests, whatever their age.
Talk to Them
This one might seem obvious, but perhaps the best way to guide your child towards a life-long hobby is just to talk openly with them about the things that they enjoy. You might find out that your child has seen something that interested them, but they haven’t yet considered making it into a hobby, or you may even discover that something you thought they liked, actually doesn’t appeal to them much at all.
Broaden Their Minds
As this fantastic Children’s Trust article says, it’s impossible for a child to be interested in something that they don’t know exists, so try to expose your child to as many new experiences as possible. Whether that’s aiming to visit a new museum every month, watching a variety of sports together on TV, exploring a crafts shop or just browsing a book store, you never know what your child might gravitate towards next.
Make a List
Once you’ve established the things that your child likes, ask them to write down their top five or ten favourite things, and go through them together to work out how you can transform those interests into a hobby. A child that loves comic books may like to find out how they can learn to draw comics, whereas a child that loves to draw or paint might be thrilled to find out how to animate. It’s all about thinking outside the box!
Don’t Be Biased
It’s unfortunately all too easy as parents to fall into the trap of ‘gendered’ hobbies, and to guide children towards stereotypical ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ hobbies, without even realising it. If your little girl expresses an interest in how cars work, or your young son says he wants to learn how to bake cupcakes, don’t dismiss them – empower them, and they’ll realise from a young age that they really are capable of anything!
Research What’s Available
You’re bound to be surprised at the array of classes and courses for young children that are available in your local area, and you may find anything from roller-skating classes to screen-printing tutorials, as well as lots of things that you haven’t even previously heard of! Urge your child to attend a taster class, and afterwards, ask them to tell you honestly what they thought. Just as this great quote from the greeting cards specialist Hallmark says, your kids should try everything – they might have love it, they might have hate it – but either way, they’ll discover something new.
Avoid Becoming Pushy
There’s a fine line between being an encouraging parent, and a ‘pushy’ parent, so become you stray into Todders & Tiaras territory, ask yourself if your child is as enthusiastic about one of their hobbies as you are. If their interest in an activity seems to drop off, don’t force them to continue – yes, you might have spent money on equipment, but make it clear that it’s okay for them to change their minds. Children are naturally fickle, and chances are that a few weeks later, they’ll want to give it another try!
In association with Hallmark