Parenting is probably one of the toughest jobs around, and every parent wants the best opportunities for their children.
These days, on top of school, homework, and tuition, we often hear of children attending a multitude of enrichment classes: language, writing, coding, piano, swimming, ballet, martial arts — the list goes on. But why?
Why hobbies matter
Without a doubt, hobbies play an important role in any child’s life, as a means to relieve stress, for self-discovery and enrichment beyond academics.
They can also learn important life skills and values. Team sports such as soccer or basketball, for example, can teach your child how to interact with others, determination and resilience, while learning to play a musical instrument has been proven to enhance brain function1 in children through the formation of new neural connections.
And who knows, their hobbies could just turn out to be their true passions in life and influence their future profession!
The costs of the investment
While the prospects are exciting, discovering your child’s passion is an investment — in terms of money, as well as a commitment of time and effort, of both parties.
After all, most sports, music or language activities require the learning of skills, and it would naturally take time before any progress is visible.
Along the way, your child might also become disinterested in learning because they encounter obstacles or it doesn’t seem ‘as fun’ anymore. But this is natural for any child — so how do you as a parent ensure that an enrichment programme is worth the investment?
Ask yourself: why have the enrichment?
Whether these enrichment classes are worth investing in depends on you and your child’s intentions behind signing up.
To expose your child to various experiences
If your intent is just for exposure, community centres and academies often run trial sessions on weekends or school holidays — a good opportunity to introduce your child to new activities.
Your child can find out what the activity is about and how much they like it, before deciding whether they want to commit any more time to it. These are also good opportunities for your child to step out of their comfort zones.
However, since these are meant for exposure, they might not be sufficient for your child to develop any meaningful interest. While some parents are content with added exposure, others might want their child to delve a little deeper.
To help your child develop new skills
If this latter example is you, it’s all the more important that you speak to your child to find out their level of interest in that particular area. Is it something they like and want to try? Do they know what they are signing up for?
For children, driving factors for hobbies include having fun and wanting to learn new things. But you should also help them understand that there is a not-so-fun side of it: needing to practice, making mistakes, and dealing with situations where things don’t always go their way.
Involving your child in the decision-making process will give them more responsibility for their choices, and helps both parties decide if it’s worth furthering their interest.
Making the investment valuable
In the end, it's rewarding to see your child doing something that might potentially become their passion, but don’t just go about signing them up for anything and everything! Choose quality (your child’s interests) over quantity (number of programmes your child participates in).
With plenty of options available, parents should bear in mind their child’s needs and interests, as well as the family’s financial means before signing up. Take the time to conduct careful research before making your decision.
It’s not easy being a parent, especially to young children — sign up for our newsletter and learn how you can invest in your child’s future with more articles like this.
This article is for your information only and does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any persons. Please seek advice from a qualified Financial Consultant for a financial analysis before purchasing a policy suitable to meet your needs.