It is alarming how many teens claim boredom as their reason behind substance abuse, shoplifting, and other dangerous behaviors. While boredom isn’t the whole story—many troubled teens also struggle with their mental health, which requires therapy to manage—addressing your teen’s feelings of monotony by helping them find a hobby can help in a number of ways.
For one thing, having a hobby can help you teen make friends. Another benefit is the confidence that teens can build by becoming skilled in a new area. To give you some ideas of what outlets you may want to encourage your teen, here are eight fun hobbies that can help keep your teen engaged in something good.
One of the easiest hobbies to start with is hiking. All you really need is a pair of shoes and somewhere to explore. Hiking can be a solitary hobby, where your teen gets to connect with nature and allow their thoughts to roam. Or, instead of being solitary, you can find a local hiking group for your teen—and you as well—to join and hike with.
Along with being able to have quiet, active time to sort through their own thoughts and feelings, your teen can enjoy the regular exercise that comes with hiking. The natural endorphins can help balance your teen’s moods and provide them with a healthy release for their energy.
Often considered a hobby of creative writers only, many teens can benefit from learning to write as a hobby. For instance, many therapists recommend writing in a journal as a way to organize thoughts and to process feelings. And, if your teen struggles to write long journal entries, they can stick to a bullet journal, where they write a short bullet point for different thoughts and highlights of their day.
If your teen enjoys writing but doesn’t want to write creative fiction, they may enjoy blogging on their favorite topic, whether it’s a fan blog on the K-pop group BTS or a craft blog.
3. Pen Pal
Many teens are struggling with feeling disconnected from others, especially as COVID-19 restrictions are ongoing. To help open up your teen’s world and to help them think beyond their own experiences, you can encourage your teen to write a couple of pen pals.
You can search online for ways to connect with pen pals, with options to do purely online writing to postcard pen pals.
Music can be both an engaging hobby and helpful for those teens who find it difficult to express themselves either through speech or writing. There is a multitude of ways to engage in a musical hobby, from more traditional instrument learning to singing and music composition.
At some of the best therapeutic boarding schools for troubled teens, music is included as part of the program, as it provides teens with an engaging hobby, a skill to be proud of, and a way to express themselves when it would otherwise be difficult.
If your teen is interested in more tactile hobbies, art is an excellent avenue. There are many mediums of art that your teen can try, such as:
- Jewelry making
Depending on what your teen is interested in, the artistic hobby may be a bit of an expensive investment. However, there are often workshops—some are even virtual—that your teen can attend to try out the hobby before you invest in supplies.
A practical and useful hobby for your teen to learn is how to code. Learning how to build code can help your teen not only stay engaged in a good hobby, but your teen can create something tangible, such as an app, simple games (or complex ones in time), websites, and more.
There are free resources to learn to code, from YouTube tutorials to websites like Free Code Camp and Khan Academy. You may also want to contact your teen’s school and see what resources they can provide, as well as your local library—you may be surprised what these public facilities have available!
7. Baking And/Or Cooking
A tasty hobby that can help your teen learn an important life skill is cooking and baking. You may want to emphasize cooking a bit more, as it will benefit your teen more when they are on their own to know how to take basic ingredients and make food. Baking is a fun hobby, but knowing how to make the perfect cookies and brownies isn’t as helpful and cooking.
It can also be a fun bonding activity with your teen, sharing your own early baking and cooking mishaps, passing on family recipes, and simply enjoying spending time with your teen while they are still home.
While reading doesn’t keep your teen engaged in the here and now, this hobby can help expand your teen’s mind while helping them improve their overall reading comprehension. Even if your teen prefers pure fantasy and other forms of fiction books, the exposure to new ways of thinking and vocabulary can benefit your teen while they enjoy their new hobby.
These are just some of the hobbies your teen may enjoy. You may want to share your own hobbies with your teen, both as a bonding activity and as something valuable that your teen can learn and share with their own family someday.