2021 has been another tricky year so far and teens have experienced yet more disruption to their studies. It’s been tough and unsettling for them, and they’ve faced more stress than usual, struggling to keep up with schoolwork, worrying about what grades they might get, and uncertainty about examinations (both for those due to take exams this summer and those due to take exams next summer).
Learning takes place outside the classroom too
As a parent, it’s hard not to worry that the lack of face-to-face schooling has set them back. You may be very concerned about how they will catch up and could well be considering limiting their co-curricular and social activities, so they have more time to focus on academic work. Don’t lose sight of how much learning takes place outside the classroom – especially at home. Academic qualifications are important, but it’s what students do alongside their studies that make them stand out from others, both on application forms and in interviews. This is especially true when most other applicants will be of a similar age, have studied similar subjects and possibly have similar grades.
How hobbies reinforce skillsets
What your teen does for fun helps shape their character and gives them essential soft skills (sometimes called transferrable skills) that can only be gained through experience. Soft skills are highly valued because they are essential to running a business well; the way employees relate to one another and how they go about doing their job underpins their ability to succeed and consequently, the business’s ability to succeed. Because soft skills are not industry specific and have equal worth in different job types, students that develop a strong set of soft skills have more opportunities to switch between different sectors to find the roles and industry that suit them best.
Different hobbies – different skills
Different activities develop different skills. For example, team sports might harness commitment, good communication, collaboration, perception and teamwork, whereas solo sports might harness commitment, decisiveness, determination, independence and self-reliance.
If your teen has a keen interest in listening to podcasts and watching short videos, this might expand their general knowledge, broaden their interests, help them identify and explore their passions, whilst improving their skills in assimilation, comprehension, listening, research and prioritization.
Bookworms will develop their language and communications skills, whilst demonstrating focus and a curious mind for trying new reads. Those that are keen to be in the limelight, perhaps making their own videos to post online, will become adept presenters, great communicators and have insight into holding an audience’s attention (very useful for work meetings later on in life!).
As well as skills, these non-academic interests encourage personal growth, developing capability and potential. This includes personal traits (or values) such as courage, honesty, integrity, kindness, loyalty, optimism, reliability and trustworthiness. There are numerous others; all are vital in creating rapport and aligning values with individuals and businesses alike.
The holidays provide a fantastic opportunity for students to think about what they can do to start making their dreams a reality. Whether they’re 15 and starting to think about what they might like to do after their GCSEs or whether they’re 18 and making plans for adulthood, there’s plenty they can do to help them prepare for the next stage of their life – and they can have fun at the same time! Don’t dwell on what they may have missed, instead focus on using the summer to boost their experience to help them prepare for the autumn term and future applications they will want to make.
After months of not being allowed out, it’s highly likely your teen will want to make up for lost time this summer and spend plenty of time with their friends. It’s only natural and they should. That said, they’ll rely on your experience to help them maintain balance -including enough rest, time to develop new interests (or research their future ambitions) and family time too.
It’s been another hard year, so don’t let this summer become a battlefield for “catch up”. Make room for plenty of fun and family time, safe in the knowledge your teen will be gaining job-worthy experience and defining their own style.
The Parents’ Guide to Standing out from the crowd
Your teen will have their own goals and ambitions, but they might need your help in working out the steps to help them achieve these goals. Our guide explains how you can help your teen gain the competitive advantage, mostly by doing things they enjoy. Including detailed explanations on a variety of hobbies and interests to appeal to all different personality types. Learn which hobbies develop which particular soft skills and why. We also explain how your teen can demonstrate practical application of their values and soft skills during interviews.