Sometimes, hobbies are just fun, and nothing else.
And that’s what makes them so great.
They occupy a space in life that’s not work, school, or family.
Everyone needs that: a part of life where there’s no pressure and very few expectations.
Hobbies can be that.
But hobbies can be also be much more.
They can teach a teenager valuable lessons that last for years, and improve their overall quality of life and wellbeing.
When you look at it that way, it’s a wonder we don’t make them mandatory.
But that would defeat the purpose, wouldn’t it?
Here’s a list we shared last year in our article Why Teenagers Should Have Hobbies. We like it so much—and think it’s important enough—that we’re sharing it again.
Top Ten Benefits of Hobbies for Teens
Hobbies help teens:
- Discover Passions
A teenager might not know they love (insert anything: art, sports, computer coding, cooking) until they give it a shot.
- Learn New Skills
Teens can make great leaps forward when they focus on something they choose and spend time doing it on their terms.
- Make New Friends
- Boost Self-Esteem
When a teenager succeeds at something related to their hobby, such as learning a new song, scoring a goal, or writing a poem, it builds their confidence, their sense of self-worth, and increases their overall mental and emotional well-being.
- Gain a Sense of Accomplishment
This is like gaining self-esteem, but it’s not the same thing. Self-esteem is general, while this is specific. A teenager who takes a liking to carpentry, for instance, might build a table, a chair, a deck, or even a clubhouse, then step back and say, “Wow. I did that.” That’s a special feeling everyone should experience, especially teens.
- Manage Time
Participating in hobbies teaches teens how to use their time wisely. Instead of spending all afternoon on the couch, they learn to allocate time toward their hobbies because they want to, not because they have to. They find out how to fit their hobby-time in with homework, family commitments, and social time – and that’s not always easy.
- Learn About Themselves
Most adults know developing an identity takes trial and error: you try one thing, you don’t like it, so you try another. The teenage years are the perfect time to start this process.
- Regulate Emotions
Developing a skill takes time and patience. That means learning how to deal with emotions like anger and frustration. Time devoted to a hobby inevitably means managing the ups and downs one encounters along the way. This skill translates directly into almost every aspect of adult life.
- Handle Adversity
While pursuing hobbies, things don’t always go perfectly. In sports, for instance, losing happens. Teenagers who understand how to rise above the bad and look toward the good get a head start on life. As adults know, adversity happens. The sooner an individual learns to deal with it, the better.
- Learn the Value of Hard Work
While we don’t necessarily agree that all the good things in life come only from hard work, we do agree that without hard work, it’s tough to accomplish most things of significant value. When a teen chooses a hobby, they’ll have to spend time working at it in order to become proficient. And if the hobby is a sport or a fine art, they’re lucky: they get to spend a lifetime perfecting their craft. In the teenage years, this type of effort lays the foundation for achievement throughout adulthood.
Angus is a writer from Atlanta, GA. He writes about behavioral health, adolescent development, education, and mindfulness practices like yoga, tai chi, and meditation.