Different studies prove the psychological benefits of hobbies, which are entertainment or leisure activities that involve a small mental challenge. Besides being very important for adults, these hobbies are fundamental for children.
As children, our ability to manage attention is very limited. Over the years, our “central operating/executive system” matures and this control increases. On the other hand, we have the ability to reinforce or enhance these advances through different strategies.
Moreover, as we get older, we renounce fun. Somehow, we internalise that non-productive time is a kind of waste of time. Thus, we fall into a kind of obsession, whereby we always have to perform activities for the well-being of the future self, sacrificing tastes and desires of the present self. However, science shows that we are wrong to consider only the “serious” as important, leaving the “fun” as something secondary and renegade only to free time.
The psychological benefits of hobbies for children and adults
A study conducted and published by experts from the Universities of Texas, Pittsburgh and Kansas supports the hypothesis that pleasurable activities are associated with good health. They found data that supports the idea that hobbies are excellent for improving the psychological and physical state of children, as well as adults.
To reach this conclusion, the researchers set specific indicators in the young people who went through these tests to measure their blood pressure, body mass index and psychological functioning. After that, they took measurements through a test to establish their level of participation in leisure activities.
This is how they found evidence that people who had more fun with these leisure activities were more likely to feel healthy, both physically and psychologically. Among the benefits they found were:
Lower risk of developing psychological problems
Hobbies, done on a regular basis, encourage reduced problems and greater psychological balance. These factors lead to what is considered happiness. This is why hobbies are so important.
Better quality sleep
Children can sleep better thanks to hobbies. According to the study cited, only the children who did not have much free time showed problems in reconciling sleep and enjoying a good rest.
The stress that a child may feel due to excessive tasks and obligations decreases with hobbies and free time dedicated to leisure. The same trend is observed in adults, who are also less likely to suffer from depression.
Improving the social circle
Children’s socialisation is important especially from the age of 6 or 7, when their peers become basic figures in their development as individuals. Here, hobbies are excellent, especially when they consist of activities that require the participation of other people. With this, children develop their social circle and broaden their friendships, because during playtime they are more emotionally receptive.
Contribution to happiness
In general, the mentioned study and many experts conclude that hobbies are perfect tools to generate greater happiness. Thanks to these entertainments during free time, children fill their lives with meaning, achieving a more satisfactory development and a much more complete existence.
Better school performance
It is clear that thanks to free time and fun with the use of hobbies, children show a greater ability to concentrate, which increases their academic productivity.
Children, thanks to hobbies, recover better from the demands of school. In addition, they gain motivation to learn new skills, develop a more positive creative capacity, and are more collaborative with classmates, teachers, and tutors.
Considering all the above, it seems to be proven that the psychological benefits of hobbies for children are clear and efficient. Therefore, they are activities worth promoting among the little ones. With this, we should identify children’s favourite hobbies and encourage them. We should never think that they are a way to waste time. These disconnections are fantastic activities that improve children’s skills and have very clear rewards, as we have seen.
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