Being Baba: Give your child the gift of a hobbyhttps://indianexpress.com/article/parenting/blog/give-your-child-the-gift-of-a-hobby-5765903/

Being Baba: Give your child the gift of a hobby

"I promise you this. If you get them hooked onto something awesome when they’re kids, they will thank you for it when they grow up!"

summer holidays, hobbies for kids
Books spark a child’s imagination. (Source: Dreamstime)

By Mihir Joshi

I’m one of the lucky few people who has converted his passion into his profession. For that to happen though, I needed to be genuinely passionate about something in my life and growing up I had a ton of things I loved. There were my books, my comics, WWE, football, music and collecting interesting things like stamps and coins. Apart from the stamps and coins, everything else that I loved as a kid, I’ve kinda converted it into real work of some sort.

I can tell you from personal experience that if you love what you do professionally it never feels tedious or like a “job”. You’ll be willing to spend more time and never feel like “I can’t wait for the weekend.” Now this is an ideal situation…but even if you can’t make your passion into your profession, I believe that it is extremely important to have something you truly love and care about. It could be cars, movies, tv shows, books, travelling, food…anything that takes your mind away from your daily routine and gets you ready for the next day or week.

And I feel that this is something that you need to start really early. It is our responsibility as parents to ensure that our kids find something they’ll love. Here are some fun things you can get your kid into, in my opinion:

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Books / comic books

I’ve said this multiple times now and at the risk of sounding repetitive, I’m going to start off my list with reading. If you can get your kid into reading from an early age, you really are sorted out. Books can keep your kids occupied for hours, they improve their vocabulary and imagination and they get to learn a lot of interesting things as well.

Geography

If you love to travel and want to get your kids hooked on to that as well…nothing could be better than the gift of a beautiful and illustrated Atlas. Not just maps of countries and continents but also pictures of the places they are reading about so they can recognise different places in the world. You could also get them a globe and maybe travel magazines which show you interesting parts of the world. I know you’re probably thinking that this sounds like more books but it isn’t just books. It is about experiencing new places with your kids right from home. I am trying to stay away from tv and iPads but if you can regulate it then you may also want to start showing them interesting documentaries and travel videos to pique their interest. I would recommend this when they’re a little older though.

Cooking

If you love food and want to get your kids to share your passion, start them young. My dear friend, actress Isha Koppikar Narang has got her daughter Rianna, who is just 4, into a cooking class and she absolutely loves making interesting things at her class. Who knows maybe your baby boy or girl could be the next big masterchef!

Nature-related hobbies

If you love nature, trees and animals…get your kids into gardening, animal care, organic farming, making birdhouses and even interesting things like collecting rocks and other beautiful natural things like shells and flowers.

Painting and sketching

This is another hobby that can keep your kids engaged for hours at an end and who knows if they get good at it, there are so many opportunities to convert this passion into a successful career.

Dance

Dance is a fantastic hobby and improves flexibility, coordination, balance, stamina, strength, posture and confidence in kids. Dance helps in emotional and social growth for kids, and the dedication, discipline and focus they have to learn and practice are important life skills that will transfer over to school, work and other aspects of their lives.

Music

This is a no-brainer. Music helps kids in so many ways! Just like dance, music gives them tremendous discipline, a fun thing to do and if they get really good at it a great career path as well. Teach them an instrument and start them young. Also make sure they listen to all sorts of interesting music. Neil, my son, hears everything from Dean Martin to The Beatles to Iron Maiden to Jagjit Singh! Introduce them to good music in all possible genres and let them figure out what they love more.

Now, these are just a few suggestions from my end. Tell me what you love and would love to see your kids get into as well. I’d love to hear more interesting ways to keep our kids occupied. Anything that gets them away from staring away at a screen senselessly. I promise you this. If you get them hooked onto something awesome when they’re kids, they WILL thank you for it when they grow up!

(The writer is a singer–his debut album Mumbai Blues won the GIMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2015–hosts his own talk show-The MJ Show and does live Hindi commentary for WWE. Follow him on twitter @mihirjoshimusic)