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  • Writer's pictureThe Parents' Guide to

Why sports, music and languages are especially good hobbies to hone soft skills

The great thing about hobbies is there’s something for everyone no matter how unique. The range

is endless. We understand it can be tricky to feel comfortable that your teen is making valuable use

of their time, especially if they’re chosen hobbies aren’t what you would have chosen for them! However, almost without exception, they’ll be something in a hobby that’s developing soft skills and having downtime is essential to mental and physical wellbeing. That said, sport, music and languages are particularly strong in developing soft skills - read on to find out how.

 

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Sport

Schools will offer a variety of sports activities and there are bound to be lots of clubs in your local area offering other sports not covered by the school. There are huge benefits to your teen getting involved in sports, including:

  • Being active and staying physically fit;

  • Building physical strength and endurance;

  • Co-operating with others and thinking of the whole rather than individual in team sports;

  • Endurance and self-reliance for solo sports;

  • Setting and achieving goals;

  • Meeting, connecting and relating to other people;

  • Dedication and reliability – in practising and continued participation.


Interviewers almost always ask about interest in sport

Interviewers, whether for jobs or further education, tend to be interested in an applicant’s sporting interests. Reasons for this include the skills the candidate is likely to have developed through sports participation, an interest in players for school/university teams and common ground for conversation.

Alternatives

If you child is not keen on sport, try to find out why and suggest alternatives that avoid the parts they don’t like. If they’re not competitive, avoid team sports and go for solo activities, such as hiking, mountaineering, bike riding, swimming. If they don’t like danger, try safer sports such as tennis, badminton, golf, table tennis or yoga. If they don’t like getting changed in public, find somewhere they can practise sport and arrive already kitted out, or choose a sport that doesn’t require specialist sportswear.


If they don’t like sports at all, is there something they enjoy that means they’ll regularly be active? Trampolining in the garden. Dancing in the bedroom. Walking locally. Anything that gets them moving.


Supporting mental wellbeing

Taking part in physical activity is a key component of strong mental health as well as strong physical health. Not liking or taking part in sport doesn’t mean they won’t be successful, but if they don’t do

some physical activity it could lead to health issues both in the short and long term.

Skills they'll be able to demonstrate
  • Commitment - showing up to games and training

  • Determination - Striving to continually improve

  • Leadership - inspiring and leading others

  • Resilience - handling pressure and learning how to win and lose

  • Stamina - improving physical fitness

  • Team work - co-operating and communicating with others if playing team sports


Getting musical

Aside from being the most popular person at parties and get togethers, playing an instrument has numerous benefits. It stimulates the brain and helps physical co-ordination. It can be relaxing or stimulating, helping to adjust mood. Progress and improvement provides a sense of achievement whilst fostering patience.


Sharing

Almost everyone loves music, so it’s a great way to share good times and great experiences together – especially with others that aren’t musically gifted.


Time management

It takes time to master an instrument, so factoring in lessons and practise to an already busy schedule will teach your teen how to make the most effective use of their time.



Music exam qualifications

Admissions staff, colleges and interviewers often look favourably on students with practical music

exam qualifications, as they indicate self-discipline, motivation and organisational skills. UCAS tariff points are awarded to students attaining LCM Advanced Level music qualifications (grades 6, 7 and 8),

in both practical and theory subjects.


Skills they'll be able to demonstrate
  • Commitment - it take time to master a musical instrument

  • Creativity - interpreting how the music can be played

  • Determination - Striving to continually improve

  • Multi-tasking - Reading and interpreting the music, physical dexterity in playing the right notes

  • Resilience - it takes time and multiple attempts to get it right

  • Stamina - improving physical fitness

  • Team work - co-operating and communicating with others if playing in a band or orchestra


Languages

If your child has an aptitude for languages, learning a second (or third) language has many cognitive benefits, such as better memory, problem solving and critical-thinking skills, improved concentration, enhanced listening skills and the ability to multitask. It demonstrates commitment and an ability to balance personal academic study with school lessons.


Learning a new language can be challenging and is not suitable for everyone. It can require a significant

time investment over a long period of time, so your teen shouldn’t do this if it will impact their primary qualifications. However, if it’s something they find easy and enjoy, it could prove extremely beneficial – even if it’s only learning a few conversational phrases for holidays.



If you speak a language other than English at home already, finessing it (both verbally and written) could

be relatively easy and give them a significant edge in the future.


Skills they'll be able to demonstrate
  • Analytical - Identifying patterns, observing people and behaviour

  • Communication - listening, speaking, reading and writing

  • Critical thinking - unafraid to ask questions and delve deeper into meaning

  • Problem solving - linguists usually demonstrate creativity, logic, imagination and lateral thinking


 
The Parents' Guide to helping your child stand out from the crowd

Other ways your teen can learn soft skills

If you’d like to know how your teen can build their character, develop skills, stand out from others and improve their chances of success at interviews, all while doing things they enjoy, read our suggestions in The Parents’ Guide to Standing out from the crowd. It includes sections on:

  • Self-development and increasing confidence;

  • Getting work experience (including virtual placements);

  • Benefits of research and how to take a different approach;

  • How different hobbies impact mental and physical health;

  • Which hobbies hone different transferrable skills

  • Recommendations for non-curricular online courses


 

We always love to hear from you, so do let us know if there are any subjects you’d like us to chat to you about. Stay safe and keep happy, Vanessa and Darius - info@theparentsguideto.co.uk

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