Sometimes, finding ways to wind down and relax can be difficult. After all, we tend to be slaves to our duties and our schedules and looking at things that are not furthering our progress in those states can seem foolish to us. But, we know that downtime is necessary. Our kids are no different than us; their needs are the same. Kids will show their frustration and their level of how overwhelmed they are by acting out. They act out as a cry for help to organize their feelings and to get out some of their pent up energy and stress. Sometimes we can just send them outside to run around and play. But what do you do when the weather is bad or when going outside is just not an option for whatever reason? They need a hobby!
Hobbies help us to relax in ways that are productive to an extent. They also can help our kids organize their emotions and feelings. Some kids will naturally develop hobbies - mostly as an extension from something they learned in their school work or what they see their parents engaged in. My goal as a mom in helping my kids find a hobby is to help them find something that is relatively inexpensive and quiet (HA!) No selfish motive there.... **whistles innocently**
My youngest has picked up reading. She loves reading more and more each day. I make an effort to buy her books she likes and desires to read, not just books that I want her to love or read. See the difference?
My 14 year old loves art and drawing. She can really calm herself if she has access to a sketchpad and some pencils. She also likes making jewelry and can stay occupied for hours with that.
My 9 year old boy can chill with some legos and coloring books. He also has discovered a love of cooking. I signed him up for some Craftsy classes and he can watch those and follow along very well. Other than a mishap with putting some flour into the bag of sugar, it has been relatively unstressful for me.
That leaves my 10 year old daughter. She would play on a computer 24 hours a day if I let her. This is not okay with me. I want her to develop an interest outside of National Geographic's Animal Jam game. She is a little screen addict. I want to find her a hobby that she can engage in outside of this game she loves so much. How does one help a child find a hobby? The same way an adult finds a hobby. You look for one!
This means you expose your child to lots of different activities. I have introduced to her all sorts of needlecrafts, embroidery, crochet, sewing - etc. This means she had free access to everything she needed, including a sewing machine. She was mildly interested in sewing, she made a quilt and then decided she "beat sewing" and her interest waned. So we tried embroidery. She was bored with it. Crochet proved too difficult for her fine motor skills that she possessed at that time. She loved the fish tank for a while and I thought we may be guppy breeders. Thankfully, her interest in that has declined as well. She also has an avid interest in bird watching, but not many birds are landing in our yard right now. She is currently all about everything horses as well but I don't have horses in my back yard. Cooking is difficult for her as her ADHD and dyslexia really make it hard for her to follow a list of instructions.
It was becoming an arduous task trying to find her something she can use to settle herself. I introduced to her many things that were home based and she was having none of it.
Then, finally a breakthrough. She likes creating stories. She would bring me comics she created about our dog. In her schoolwork she started begging me to give her free writing assignments online where she could type her stories. She uses all kinds of different fonts and text colors in her writing. Even though it is on a screen, she is able to really express herself in a way that helps her feel successful. She is currently writing a fan fiction story about the My Little Pony, Rainbow Dash. I am going to help her clean it up a bit (i.e. add punctuation like periods) and publish it for her on a fan fiction site. She is thrilled with the idea and is adding to her story pretty much daily. It still involves her looking at a screen but she loves it and it is a good compromise. I am also going to get her a coding game since she is so interested in the computer itself.
The kids having hobbies they can fall back on when mom needs a moment of peace has really helped me and them feel more settled when times are crazy or stressful.
If your kids need a hobby and you don't know where to start, here is a link to a list that can give you some ideas!