Constructive Use of Time

All work and no play can be boring and stressful

The pace of everyday life varies depending on the activities young people participate in. These fluctuations

are normal, even healthy. As long as young people don’t consistently have too much to do or not enough to

do, they’re right on track. Problems arise when the balance begins to tip too far to one side or the other.

Too much involvement can lead to stress or anxiety. Too little involvement can be a sign of depression or

isolation. Ensure that young people constructively use their time for both fun and learning. Constructive

Use of Time is one of eight asset categories that make up Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets, the

qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible.

Here are the facts

Research shows that young people are more likely to grow up healthy when they have opportunities to

learn new skills and interests through both structured and unstructured activities. Search Institute has

identified four assets in the Constructive Use of Time category that are crucial for helping young people

grow up healthy: Creative Activities, Youth Programs, Religious Community, and Time at Home.

Tips for building these assets

Playing and spending time alone is important for everyone. But so is structured activity with other people.

Help young people find the right mix by offering them a variety of choices: music, art, youth programs, and

spiritual organizations that help them tap into their creative energy, provide new experiences, and teach

new skills.


Also try this

In your home and family: Periodically, take an “activity inventory.” Check in with your children to

find out: how happy they are with their different activities; if the activities they are involved in are

stimulating and challenging; if they’re making friends with caring, thoughtful adults and peers; and

if they’re learning new skills, and more about themselves.

In your neighborhood and community group: Help create a safe, inviting place where young

people can meet for clubs or other structured activities, or just hang out. For example, a park,

playground, or community center.

In your school or youth program: Provide constructive before- and after-school programs for

young people who would otherwise spend the time unsupervised.


Click below for more interest on each asset. 

Asset 17: Creative Activities

Asset 18: Youth Programs

Asset 19: Religious Community