All work and no play can be boring and stressful
The way children and teenagers spend their time makes a big difference in the way they grow up. Learning the balance of school, hobbies, social time and family time is a lifelong skill. Some additional benefits of engagement in activities outside of school include building connections with like-minded adults and peers, and providing opportunities for challenges in which youth can grow and learn in a safe and supportive environment. Neighborhoods and communities benefit form energized, excited young people who feel empowered and are willing to contribute their talents and their ideas.
HERE ARE THE FACTS
Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy when they have opportunities to learn new skills and interests through both structured and unstructured activities. Search Institute has identified four assets in the Constructive Use of Time category that are crucial for helping young people grow up healthy: Creative Activities, Youth Programs, Religious Community, and Time at Home.
TIPS FOR BUILDING THESE ASSETS
Playing and spending time alone is important for everyone. But so is structured activity with other people. Help young people find the right mix by offering them a variety of choices: music, art, youth programs, and spiritual organizations that help them tap into their creative energy, provide new experiences, and teach new skills.
HOW CAN YOU PROMOTE CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME
- In your home and family: Periodically, take an “activity inventory.” Check in with your children to find out: how happy they are with their different activities; if the activities they are involved in are stimulating and challenging; if they’re making friends with caring, thoughtful adults and peers; and if they’re learning new skills, and more about themselves. Consider whether these activities are adding to your child’s experience or are causing unintended stress or anxiety.
- In your neighborhood and community group: Help create a safe, inviting place where young people can meet for clubs or other structured activities, or just hang out. For example, a park, playground, or community center.
- In your school or youth program: Provide constructive before- and after-school programs for young people who would otherwise spend the time unsupervised.
Want to know more about Search Institute’s other seven asset categories or the 40 Developmental Assets and ideas for helping young people build them? Visit www.ecabnetwork.org
Developmental Assets® are positive factors within young people, families, communities, schools, and other settings that research has found to be important in promoting the healthy development of young people. Adapted from Instant Assets: 52 Short and Simple E-Mails for Sharing the Asset Message. Copyright © 2007 by Search Institute®, 877-240-7251; www.search-institute.org. This message may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only (with this copyright line). All rights reserved.