Back to School Checklist

As the kids enjoy their remaining time off, you can avoid back-to-school madness by mobilizing now. Here, our Facebook fans share a peek at their late-summer checklists.

See More
/content/bhg/health-family/weight-loss/12-ways-to-boost-your-metabolism

Get Involved in Your Child's Education

Getting involved in your children's education is a proven way to improve their school performance -- here's how.

See More

Which Type of Doctor’s Office Should You Visit?

Whether you've sprained an ankle on vacation or just don't want to wait three weeks for a doctor's appointment, you now have more health care options than ever. A variety of clinics, offering a wide range of services from stitches to wellness exams, are popping up in neighborhoods near you.

See More

Your Top Health Insurance Challenges–Solved!

Trying to understand health insurance, knowing how to appeal a health insurance claim, and trying to organize insurance paperwork is tough. In fact, we surveyed over 1,000 women who told us just how difficult it is to understand health insurance. We culled your biggest challenges and got advice from leading health insurance experts.

See More

10 Habits for a Healthy Life

Seems like a new study comes out everyday telling us what to eat, drink do -- it's enough to make your head spin. Deep breaths. Here's what experts say has true staying power, and how to easily follow their insights.

See More

12 Free and Fun Family Activities

Get ready for summer fun on the cheap with these 12 deals and steals for the family.

See More

Improve Your Home's Air Quality

You know that air pollution is bad for the planet. But what's happening to the air inside your home?

See More
Popular in Health & Family

Why Kids Need Hobbies

With all the time spent watching television and playing video games, many of today's children have never experienced the rewards of a hobby.

Not long ago, speaking to a large midwestern audience, I asked, "How many of you, when you were children, had a hobby?" Nearly everyone raised a hand. I then asked them to keep their hands in the air if at least one of their children had a hobby, which I distinguished from organized, adult-directed, after-school activities such as Little League. Most of the hands went down.

Thirty-odd years ago, almost every kid in my neighborhood had some sort of hobby. Collecting and trading baseball cards was a popular pastime (one that's making a strong comeback today), as were coin and stamp collecting. One of my friends was into photography (he's now a photographer), another was into building radios (he's now an electrical engineer).

Hobbies benefit children in numerous ways. Because they are expressions of personal accomplishment and a means of self-discovery, hobbies help build self-esteem.

Hobbies are educational tools, as well. For example, a child who becomes interested in rocketry -- one of the most popular hobbies, by the way -- learns about propulsion and aerodynamics. By working on hobbies, children learn to set goals, make decisions, and solve all sorts of problems. Finally, hobbies often mature into lifelong interests, even careers.

How to Find a Hobby for Your Child

If all of that sounds good, and you'd like to help your child develop and sustain a hobby interest, try these suggestions:

Set a good example. Scott Harris, a hobby shop buyer and hobby workshop leader in Gastonia, North Carolina, finds that children with hobbies tend to have parents with hobbies.

Be prepared to sacrifice space. Your child will need work space for his or her hobby projects. Designate a particular room, a corner of the basement, part of the garage, or similar area. Regardless of where you set up the space, your child should be able to walk away from the hobby and come back to it later. The work space should also allow for plenty of paint spills, scratches, and other hobby-related accidents -- the inevitable by-products of creative activity.

Provide some guidance. "Nothing will kill a child's enthusiasm for a hobby quicker than lots of frustration during the learning stage," cautions hobby expert Harris. Help your child get off to a good start by demonstrating how to closely follow a set of directions, and how to handle sometimes-delicate hobby materials with proper care.

Limit television watching. Since 1955, when it became a fixture in America's households, television has come to dominate the spare time of the American child. By age 15, the average child has spent more time watching television than sitting in a classroom. Let's face it, it's impossible to work on a hobby and watch TV (or play video games) at the same time.

For want of spare time, a hobby may never develop. But find a hobby, and a talent may be born, a life enriched.

close
close
close
close
close

Loading... Please wait...