Encouraging my children to find a hobby, or several, that they love is really important to me. It’s only now I’m in my 30s that I feel I have found a few hobbies of my own which mean I’m quite content spending time by myself to pursue these interests. It means I never get bored as there is always something I can do that interests me. In fact, I never have enough time for all my hobbies nowadays!
I don’t want to force my children into hobbies they won’t enjoy, but I do want to encourage them to try extra-curricular activities to discover what they enjoy. It’s also good for them to experience settings other than just home and school and interact with a broader range of people. I hope these classes will bring them new friends and build their confidence.
Here are some tips to help find your child a hobby they’ll love:
Firstly ask them. Have a conversation about what activities they might enjoy or would love to try. Write a list and do some local research to see what’s in your local area for their age range. Check with their school too as they may already have after school clubs or external companies hiring the school hall or field for your child’s chosen activity.
Encourage, but don’t force
You may be able to tell your child’s strengths and may already have a suitable hobby in mind for them, but try to encourage this rather than enforce. Let them find their own hobbies and interests and don’t be disheartened if they really don’t go along with your suggestion. After all, you don’t want them to dislike something just because they feel pressured to do it and perform well just for you. A hobby should be something they enjoy and thrive at, otherwise it will just become another chore.
Try a taster session
Lots of clubs offer a taster session meaning the first class is free. This allows your child to try a variety of clubs and activities to see which they enjoy before committing to any sort of contract. It sometimes gives parents the opportunity to stay for a session to watch, so you can also have peace of mind about the intended class.
Only buy or rent what you need
Think of the short term and only buy or rent what you need for the next few months. Don’t go crazy and stock up on uniform for the next year or two, however much you want to encourage your child to commit to their new hobby. It can take time for children to find what they love and they may change their mind, lots. Luckily you can find lots of affordable kit easily nowadays, such as great children's ballet shoes from online stores, hockey sticks, football kits and whatever else your child may need. If they are learning a new instrument and the upfront cost is high, consider renting an instrument until you know they are serious about their hobby.
Enjoy it with them
If possible, then do their hobby with them sometimes. If it’s a class then go along to watch when they have open days. If your child has awards ceremonies or shows, make sure they can attend them and go along to show your support. Just knowing you are there to support their interests and you’re proud of them, will really boost their confidence and help them to enjoy their hobby even more.
Hobbies and extracurricular activities are the perfect way for your child to grow as a person and discover a lifelong passion. Good luck finding your child’s perfect hobby!
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