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Tips to help kids find a hobby

Why Your Child Should Have a Hobby

the value of helping your kid find a pastime

Nine-year-old Laren is “like a little businesswoman,” says her mom, Kathy Lee. The Dallas duo share a love for crafting (and mining social media for inspiration). A couple of months into the pandemic, Laren fell down the “rabbit hole of Instagram” and—unlike those of us whose scrolling leads to vague, unrealized plans—emerged as a soap-maker.

Now she’s taking orders from friends and family, packaging the colorful bars herself, and experimenting with new techniques. “She learned that if she let [the soap] dry for a little while, she could add another color,” Lee says.

Lee’s role in this soap-making enterprise: slicing the 5-pound slab of soap base into more manageable chunks for Laren to heat, color and perfume. And that’s it. While Lee is working from home, Laren is working in the kitchen—not only learning how to make multicolored soap, but also gaining independence and a bit of business savvy.

We’ve heard about a lot of kids—and parents!—picking up pastimes in recent months to fill their newfound free time, from painting to playing instruments to fishing.

Make that one positive thing to come out of this terrible pandemic, because having a hobby—especially one that doesn’t involve more screen time—is good for kids.

“I think it’s important for them to try different things, because you can find those hidden talents that kids have,” says Paula Brañez, a kids life coach based in McKinney. “When they actually find a hobby that they like, it’s because it resonates with them, they can connect with it, so it helps them [gain] confidence.”

No Pressure

The beauty of hobbies: They’re about enjoyment, rather than expectations, a reprieve from the high-stress atmosphere of school and even organized sports.

“When it’s a hobby, you don’t have that pressure that, ‘I have to be the best at doing this,’” Brañez says. “It also helps them relax and find that idle time that will help them connect with themselves and de-stress.”

Her 7-year-old daughter has recently taken up baking (a side effect of watching Zumbo’s Just Desserts on Netflix). “It’s challenging for her because it’s something different, something new,” Brañez says. “We started with cookies. It was something simple but at the same time, she felt special. She felt that she could use her skills and that she could be independent.”

Brañez supervises her daughter not only to help with the oven but also because it’s a time for them to bond. But she’s careful not to take the reins.

“Give them different options, and just let them do [it] at their pace with their own abilities, because otherwise it becomes something that the parent wants to direct and wants to do in their own way,” she explains. “I think it’s important for parents to just accept that sometimes they’re going to be messy, sometimes they’re going to be noisy, and just let them try new things.”

Maybe your child has naturally gravitated toward new interests during the pandemic, or maybe they need to be gently shepherded away from the iPad. If you need some ideas, check out these six hobbies you can try together.

Image courtesy of iStock.