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
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.