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Should children pursue multiple hobbies or stick to one they like? How much extra curricular activity is too much or too little?
‘Jack-of-all-trades; master of none’, might be an old figure of speech that many who are adults have heard in their growing years. However, when one observes the lives of the current generation kids, it is a changed attidue reflected in the new age parenting.
Several parents seem to have caught on to the idea of getting children proficient in various hobbies and not just letting grow up with mere academic skills. Whether it is joining a theatre troupe, learning a music instrument, taking part actively in a sport – all these are common features in today’s children’s lives.
If schools are ensuring that children get to participate in a series of extra curricular activities, parents want it further enriched with additional hobbies or engaging activities to make children ‘learn something’ all the time.
Take for instance the case of Aman Moitra, an eight-year-old studying in a premium school in Bangalore, “I am into skating, swimming and into children’s club where I take part in most of the debates.” When asked on whether it creates a hectic schedule and stressed atmosphere, instantly comes the reply, “Not at all. Sometimes it does get a little too hectic, but I have always wanted to be good in various skills, so there is nothing to crib about jam-packed schedules.”
With children getting exposed to several communication mediums through internet, television and mobiles; a lot of them are finding that individuals get to the favourite list of admired icons when they are able to add distinct and varied layers to their professional lives.
However cautions, psychiatrist Susheela Mehta, a counselor, “While some children may be able to take the activities in their daily schedule, there is a risk of allowing them to have this false idealistic image about them, apart from letting them burn out. Many times it is the parents who want their children to be engaged and outshine in various activities rather than children, which is something to be thought about.”
Defying her stance says Ratna Karwar, a mother of two children, “While my elder son is interested in many activities like theatre and painting; I have to literally push my younger one to be more outspoken and get into some or the other activity like drawing or something else. It’s all about offering opportunities and seeing what can be worked in your child’s life for him or her to excel. It’s also about enriching one’s life with many skills that help in building a fulfilling personality. After all many of us didn’t have many opportunities earlier, so it is good to see children getting these available for them early in life”
This is a concern with several parents who feel if their child is only into academics with average scores, then it is simply not enough. Parents want their children explore alternate career options too and primarily make the best of the given opportunities.
With an environment that is almost pressurizing many parents and kids to pursue various activities, it is a trend that needs to be checked by parents themselves if these children benefit from a string of hobbies or an activity-free-childhood will ever be pursued again.
Editor’s note: Which side of the equation do you fall on? If you are a parent who loves to expose her child to various activities so that he or she can find one she loves, join us at the Women’s Web Carnivale Familia – a one day carnival of creativity in Bangalore (on 22nd November, Sunday) where you can shop for interesting products from women entrepreneurs while your child has fun!
Boy with coloured hands image via Shutterstock