Creative Ways to Improve Your Child’s Life
This seems obvious, but bears reminding: “When engaging in a hobby you enjoy, the brain releases endorphins, chemicals that are attributed to creating positive feelings. Over time, your hobby helps to train the brain to be active, happy, and healthy.”
Anybody had a stressful year or so? Could you use some extra endorphins right about now?
We’ve talked a lot about how the Covid pandemic and lockdowns, virtual school, social isolation, learning loss and uncertainty have affected all of us, but it may be hardest on our kids. Which is why it’s more important than ever to encourage kids – and all of us, really – to cultivate a hobby or two that have nothing at all to do with school, work, or anything else that is a stressor.
Emotional, Psychological, and Physical Benefits of Hobbying
Some resources say that healthy eating, exercising, meditating, and reading are “hobbies”, but those are really more accurately categorized as lifestyle choices. The kinds of hobbies we’re talking about are the more fun and creative ones like beading friendship bracelets, knitting, painting, learning how to play a musical instrument, collecting and trading things like stamps, coins, comic books, Funko Pop figures (or really anything). Of course many hobbies do involve physical activity, like dancing, rock climbing, or bicycle riding and the benefits there include feeling more physically fit without technically “exercising”.
The endorphins mentioned earlier are your body’s way of telling you that what you’re doing feels great, helps you de-stress and just generally improves your day and your life. In a digital world where our kids are staring at some kind of electronic screen for hours on end, it’s even more important to find a fun activity that allows them to unplug.
Getting involved in a hobby is also a way to introduce your child to a new social network and group of friends with shared interests, which is another beneficial result.
Don’t Just Encourage – Participate!
It’s great for parents to encourage their children’s hobbies, but it can be even more fun if you participate in the activity with your child. Even if all you do is help with the research for your kid who wants to get into stargazing or bird-watching, your involvement helps reinforce the validity of their choice and is an opportunity to bond. Certainly if your child has an interest in something you already like to do – like going to classic car shows and learning about old cars – it makes it that much more fun to share the activity.
Just Don’t Nag
Interest in hobbies will wax and wane, and something that delighted your child last summer may not interest her right now. That’s why it’s great to help encourage multiple kinds of hobbies that your child can move in and out of as the muse strikes. If that rock collecting kit or custom bowling ball is sitting and collecting dust, resist the urge to complain about it and make your child feel guilty. That’s the best way to insure that they never pick it back up again.
The objective is to introduce and encourage activities that are fun, relaxing, rewarding, distracting, or even just amusing. Remember the endorphins! It can be as simple as setting up a card table in the corner of your family room with a jigsaw puzzle that everyone can spend a few minutes on when they feel like it. Or a dedicated hobbyist can end up spending serious time and money on specialized tools or equipment, traveling to conventions, or taking lessons. Hobbies can take many forms and are as varied as the people who love them.
Some Popular Hobby Ideas for All Ages in 2022
- Candle Making
- Collecting anything
- Coloring books (for every age, even adults!)
- Fiber Arts (knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, needlepoint, etc.)
- Graphic Design
- Indoor gardening (herbs and salad ingredients)
- Learning sign language
- Magic Tricks
- Outdoor gardening
- Pen Pals
- Playing a musical instrument
- Soap Making