Building the Constructive Use of Time Assets

Constructive Use of Time—Young people need opportunities outside of school to enjoy themselves, develop new skills, and build positive relationships with other youth and adults.

As a parent, you are already one of your child’s key asset builders. Here are tips on how you can take your parenting to the next level by intentionally focusing on the four Constructive Use of Time Assets: Creative Activities, Youth Programs, Religious Community, and Time at Home.

Tips for . . .

  • all parents
    • Continue to play together—no matter how old your kids are. Ride bikes together. Take a class together. Shoot hoops. Throw a Frisbee®. Fix or build something together.
    • Help your children find and participate in supportive, creative activities that get them excited. Consider chess classes, gymnastics, art classes, martial arts, volunteering at the Humane Society, and so on.
    • If you’re part of a religious community, be active as a family. Find interesting activities for your children to do there.
    • Make time at home appealing by giving kids choices about family activities and space arrangements.
    • parents with children ages birth to 5
    • Attend local child-friendly concerts, art exhibits, and plays. Many communities have free or reduced-price arts opportunities for families.
    • Find structured activities in positive environments for young children to enjoy outside the home. For some children this might be a childcare setting of preschool. An art, dance, or music class, or swimming lessons might work for others. For free or low-cost options check with local parks and recreation or community education.
    • parents with children ages 6 to 9
    • Keep an eye on your kids’ schedules. There should be more to a child’s life than organized activities. Kids also need family time, homework time, playtime, and quiet time.
    • Let children experiment with different activities they like and want to try, rather than focusing on lots of skill development in one area.
    • parents with children ages 10 to 15
    • Monitor where your children go, whom they are with, and what they’re doing. Keep reminding them that it’s important for all family members to do this.
    • This is a critical time when many kids start dropping activities and wanting to spend more time “hanging out.” Be patient, but also encourage your child to find another activity to try and get involved in.
    • Look for opportunities through your congregation (or a well-known congregation in your community). Many offer activities (such as service projects) that get teenagers excited, while also teaching them positive values.
    • parents with children ages 16 to 18
    • Set limits on how often teens can go out with their friends during the school week and on weekends. Have a family meeting to determine what seems reasonable and fair, starting with a basic guideline of four nights out of seven at home.
    • Keep inviting your older teenagers to do things with you. Expect (and allow them) to say no since they often want more independence. Consider allowing them to bring a friend for a family activity (which may make it more enticing for them to participate).
  • If your teenager has a part-time job, limit it to 15 hours a week or less during the school year. Studies have shown that teenagers who work more than 15 hours a week have more problems than those who work fewer hours.

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