Myriad opportunities exist for 14-year-olds in many communities, but sometimes getting started can be difficult. As a parent, you can help steer your 14-year-old into some rewarding activities by asking about his interests and being willing to help, either with transportation or through other means. Once your teen has gotten started, he may be involved with something that continues all the way through high school.
By the time kids reach high school, the idea of playing competitive sports usually centers on playing for a school team. However, there are plenty of other athletic outlets for 14-year-olds that don’t revolve around school. Organizations such as the YMCA usually have sports including basketball, flag football, swimming, volleyball and soccer, both for the highly competitive kids as well as those who just want to play. Look around your community for other sports outlets, such as fencing, crew, archery, horseback riding or even lessons in lifelong sports such as tennis or golf.
At 14, kids may be a few years away from applying to college, but they're not too young to start building up impressive resumes for their applications. If their high school requires community-service hours for graduation, better to start now than to try to earn a lot of hours later when their academic load will be heavier. Many scholarships also require community service. The high school guidance office may have some volunteer information, and organizations such as Do Something can offer many ideas that may inspire a teen.
Maybe your 14-year-old has always wanted to play the guitar or learn to draw comics or design computer games, but hasn't known how to get started. Kids don't always want to admit such interests and may feel insecure about asking for help. As a parent, you can take the lead and offer to help. Ask about music lessons at a local musical instrument store or check out drawing classes at a local art center.
What sometimes keeps a young person from joining a school club, church youth group or other organization is the nervousness about going to a first meeting. If you or your 14-year-old can find someone to meet her before the meeting -- either a person in the group or another first-timer -- some of that anxiety can be relieved. The benefits of involvement in youth groups, 4-H and similar clubs include improved self-esteem, better grades and fewer behavior problems.
In a time where technology is everywhere, chances are that your teen enjoys activities that involve the use of electronics. Your 14-year-old can listen to music on his MP3 player or iPod. He can play some video games or computer games with a friend. Or, perhaps you can sit down and watch a movie or television show with your teen. Just keep in mind that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children should have no more than 1 to 2 hours of screen time each day. This includes time spent watching television, using the computer or tablet, and playing video games.