Parents should encourage their children to pick up hobbies early in their young lives. It does not matter whether they like to read books or watch television all day. Although some have obvious benefits that will boost their academic performance or improve their physical well-being, most hobbies have something to teach the growing mind that may become useful in school or later in life when they enter the workplace.
These common hobbies that children enjoy may not seem productive, but they actually sharpen the mind and teach a lot about the world.
A Penchant for Music is the Key to Mathematical Proficiency
A child who enjoys listening to music and wants to play an instrument can achieve great things in life. They learn a trade that allows them to be creative and more social. They also may hone their understanding of mathematics.
Studies have found a strong link between music and mathematics. Scientists still do not understand how, but musicians have increased cognitive abilities compared to those who do not play an instrument.
So, if your child’s grade in math has been less than stellar, encouraging their interest in music by hiring a music teacher and buying them an instrument may help improve their test scores.
Music directly teaches students mathematical concepts, including fractions and ratios. They encounter mathematics when they read and have to perform songs or instrumental musical pieces.
Moreover, playing an instrument hones one’s executive function which is a strong predictor for excellence in academics. A person’s executive functions are responsible for the process of planning, monitoring, and executing actions that lead toward a goal. Research suggests that executive function is important in developing mathematical proficiency.
While the link between mathematics and music is still not fully understood, it is clear that learning to play an instrument benefits a child’s brain.
Video Games Improve Reading Skills
Parents who are not happy that their child plays video games all day and refuses to pick up a book may be glad to know that the time they spent with their Sony PlayStation or Nintendo Switch was not wanted. One study found that children who played action video games improved their reading skills significantly.
The study was conducted among children who have dyslexia, a learning disorder. The scientists explained that the participants were able to orient and focus their attention on the text on the screen, allowing them to extract the relevant information presented to them within a short period.
They even go as far as to say that 12 hours of playing action video games did more for these children than a year of spontaneous reading development and traditional reading treatments.
While the study was conducted with dyslexic children, other students can reap the same benefits from playing video games, too. Just remember that the benefits were observed when the participants were asked to play action games. The participants from the same study that played non-action games did not show any significant improvement when tested for reading, phonological, and attention skills.
Social Media Use: Not So Bad After All
The use of social media has been demonized for its supposed negative effects, especially on young minds. However, a handful of studies is now finding that surfing the internet may provide some benefits, too.
A few experts argued that moving the discussion to cyberspace gives students the opportunity to participate in the discussion at a time that is most convenient to them. Unlike in the classroom, on the internet, students can pause and collect their thoughts so that they can explain them in the most coherent way.
Moreover, because these children grew up with technology, they are more comfortable sharing their insights digitally compared to face-to-face classes. They are more likely to voice out their opinions online rather than in the classroom.
It would also improve children’s academic performance if they can easily interact with their teachers on social media.
When Television Becomes a Gateway To a Bigger World
Television, like social media, gets a bad rap but when used properly it can be an effective tool for learning. Your TV can expose children to a lot of subjects in a way that will pique their curiosity and entertain them.
One example is exposure to different languages and cultures. Even if shows are not billed as educational, they may provide children the opportunity to see people who look and act differently from their friends and family.
TV can also allow children to explore foreign and faraway places and see wild animals in their natural habitat. They absorb new information that may or may not be discussed in their classes at school.
Hobbies are important to a child’s development but, like most things, anything in excess is harmful. Parents should still monitor and regulate a child’s activities, whether they are learning music, playing a video game, watching television, or browsing social media.