Any parent of teenage children knows that boredom is a constant enemy. If you are worried that your teen will channel his boredom into partying, drugs or just living in front of an electronic screen, encourage him to take up a hobby. There are all kinds of teen-appropriate activities that offer mental and physical stimulation, both outdoors and in. Whatever your teenager's area of interest, there is some way to turn it into a fun and educational hobby.
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Exercise or Sports
Many teenagers love to play sports. Through their school or through local recreation centres and junior sports leagues, they can join teams for everything from soccer to ice hockey to lacrosse to archery. If your teen is not competitive, you can encourage her to get involved in rock climbing, canoeing, hiking or swimming. If those don't interest her, suggest something different such as dance lessons, martial arts or horse riding. Exercise is good for their brains and their bodies and it builds self-esteem.
If there are no appropriate drama clubs around, organise one. Many teens love to act and a self-organised play has plenty of work to keep everyone busy. Between writing or choosing a script, rehearsing, making costumes, painting back grounds and building sets, teens can involve themselves in everything from literature to carpentry. Help your kids gather like-minded friends for some old-fashioned self-entertainment.
There are few things as exciting as seeing the completed product of your own hands. Whatever your teenager's interest, help her to figure out how to turn it into a productive hobby. If your daughter loves clothes, show her how to use the sewing machine. If your son loves aeroplanes, buy him a scale model kit of his favourite plane to build. Suggest painting or photography lessons for artistic kids; let your mechanically minded children take apart and rewire old electronics.
While a job may not sound like a hobby, for a teenager it can be just as intriguing and exciting as one, especially when it involves making money. Suggest that your teenager find some kind of work during the empty summer months, preferably related to something he likes. For a teen who enjoys swimming, lifeguarding is an ideal summer job, for instance. It will keep him busy, teach him responsibility and help him develop useful skills. As an alternative, teens can mow grass, walk dogs or babysit for money.
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