By Katie Brenneman
There’s nothing better than spending time with the children you nanny. You can enjoy the usual nanny-child activities — like painting, making cookies, or going for walks. However, there are times when you don’t want to play the part of a traditional nanny and want to be more creative with your activities. If you’re feeling boxed in, you might want to consider a few nontraditional hobbies to pursue with the children you watch. When children enjoy a wide variety of hobbies, they develop lifelong skills like socializing, creativity, and critical thinking which can lead them to have a more optimistic attitude towards life. Here are some ideas for hobbies to try with the kids you nanny to get you started.
People of all ages love video games. Over 3 billion people game worldwide and play a range of titles from first-person shooters to open-world exploration games. Yet, when it comes to nannying, many people sidestep the controllers and consoles over fears that games are bad for their children’s health or are a sign of “lazy nannying.”
In reality, video gaming together is a great way to bond and can teach children meaningful values that will serve them well in the future. Children who game will learn to become problem solvers and develop a kind of mental fortitude as they learn to overcome virtual challenges in the games you play together. Altogether, this will help bolster their optimistic attitude when they must face challenges in real life.
Of course, not all games are appropriate for children. Definitely avoid playing violent games with the children you nanny like “Call of Duty,” and consider opting for age-appropriate games like:
- “Arise: A Simple Story”
- “Pokemon Go”
- “Portal 2”
Teaching the child you watch how to game may even land them a college scholarship in the future. ESports are growing in popularity, and over 60 colleges offer an eSports program. Over $3.3 billion has been spent on eSports startups in recent years, so teaching your child how to game at an early age may give them employable skills in the future.
Most nannies will happily kick a soccer ball back and forth or shoot some hoops with the kids that they watch. However, not all kids are into mainstream sports and may connect to another sport more.
Many kids love to learn martial arts. Practices like judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu also double as sports so your child can learn to compete and test themselves against other kids. By attending the same classes, you can give your kids the confidence boost they need. This is great for their overall development and an optimistic attitude.
If the parents of the children you watch are okay with it, can also pursue exciting sports like horseback riding. Learning to care for and ride a horse can teach children to be more responsible and they’ll be excited to explore the great outdoors with their equestrian friends. There is a lot that goes into buying a horse, as the parents of the child will need to provide a good standard of care and should have access to a veterinarian who can help you and your nanny family take care of the animal together.
If exploring the great outdoors is your thing, you may want to take up a hobby of geocaching. Geocaching involves exploring the outdoors and finding “caches” of fun things based on a global-position receiver and coordinates.
Geocaching with children is a bit different from geocaching alone. Try to choose easier locations that require less walking and exploration. Kids don’t want to get worn out climbing over fences and walking for miles. Depending on their age, they’ll be perfectly happy if they find a geocache at the end of their block after a short walk on a trailhead.
As you geocache more often, try to give the child you watch more responsibility over the route you take and finding the location. Even if you fail more often than you succeed, handing over the reins teaches children to take responsibility and become independent thinkers. There’s nothing better than seeing the optimism on your child’s face when they finally find their first cache by themselves.
Geocaching can be a great way to have fun and connect with your kids. However, if you want a nontraditional hobby that teaches children important lessons, there’s nothing better than getting involved with community support initiatives.
Try to choose a volunteering opportunity that the child you watch will actually enjoy. Even if the soup kitchen needs extra hands, most kids are unlikely to enjoy distributing food all day. Instead, try to pick something fun like working in a community allotment or garden or protecting the local wildlife together.
You can find a whole host of community volunteering organizations online through sites like JustServe, DoSomething, or Encore. Volunteering together helps you bond over a shared hobby and instills strong community values in your children.
When it comes to hobbies, nannies can lead the way in inspiring the children they watch to try something new. You can become the “cool nanny” of your dreams by taking up nontraditional hobbies like video gaming and martial arts. Or, if the outdoors is more your thing, you can get your child into geocaching and wildlife conservation efforts in your local area. Get creative, and your bond with the child you watch will be all the better — and more genuine — for it.
Katie Brenneman is a passionate writer specializing in lifestyle, mental health, education, and fitness-related content. When she isn’t writing, you can find her with her nose buried in a book or hiking with her dog, Charlie. To connect with Katie, you can follow her on Twitter.