The school holidays have started. That’s a lot of free time ahead. So howcan you stave off the inevitable rows and moaning? And where do you start onkeeping your children gainfully occupied and yet let them enjoy their time off? As the kids get older, there are certain things, you as a parent, can besure of (a) it pays to be prepared with lots of ideas (b) you need to get yourchildren on board and enthusiastic about the ideas you have in mind and (c)being flexible about not ticking everything on your list off can go a long wayin making the holidays a happy occasion for both your children and yourself.
Here’s a 10 step survival guide for all parents looking to gainfully occupytheir children albeit any pressure:
1. Encourage boredom
First things first – It’s alright for your child to get bored! While allparents are afraid of this one emotion their children feel, boredom canactually be a good thing. How you ask? Boredom actually helps your child getacquainted with simple pleasures of everyday life, or help develop a curiosityabout the natural world. And this can never happen if you constantly have anagenda that you want your child to follow. It’s alright for them to do nothingfor a while. Let them spend the first few days of their holidays at homestaring at the walls. Offer them household chores as an alternative.Eventually, their boredom will drive them to invent games of their own, whichin turn will lead to enhanced creativity and increased self-confidence.
2. Make play dates a regular feature
While schools may be on a break, your child’s friendships need not be. Callup the mothers of your child’s classmates to set up play dates at parks ornearby entertainment zones in malls. It can turn out to be a fun day out forboth you and your children, what’s more, these play dates will encouragefriendships to grow and help your child bond better with his/her classmateswhen school reopens.
3. Set up a movie day once a week
While too much television viewing can hamper your child’s imagination andeyesight, if you set up special days for movie viewing, it can be somethingyour child can look forward to, and agree to negotiate a reasonable televisiontime which you are comfortable with. Plus you can invite his/her friends overfor the movie day, and set up the room with a blanket on the floor, somepopcorn and drinks and create a movie hall experience right in your livingroom. And look at the bright side – those 2 hours of free time for you to tickoff all the chores on your list. You can even take him/her to the movie hallonce in a while when a child friendly movie is up in the halls.
4. Get ‘em cooking
Children love to play the role of an adult, and that includes donning thechef’s hat! Indulge in some fun cooking time with your children this summer byletting him/her choose a recipe from a book or a web site and help him/her cookup a storm in the kitchen for the entire family. And don’t worry about themess, you can strike a deal to have them clean up with you, after the cookingis done.
5. Explore your city
Weather permitting you can take your child on a day out to explore the cityand visit all the famous monuments. You can even pack a picnic lunch to beenjoyed in a park, and ride along in the public transport to add more fun andadventure to the trip.
6. Go on a weekend camping trip
While as grownups we may enjoy the luxuries of a good hotel with a spa, yourchild will relish the thrill of being on an outdoor adventure trip. Sign up fora family camping trip for a weekend, and watch your little one explore theflora and fauna in all its glory. You can pick a trip to a great hill stationwhere you can camp out in a tent and enjoying hiking through the wilderness orphotographing the wild life in the area. It can even be a great adventure thatyour child can share in his/her school assignment (usually involving what yourchild did in the summer break)
7. Enroll your child in a library
Summer breaks can be a great time to introduce your child to the habit ofreading for pleasure. Enroll your child in an age appropriate library and helphim or her develop a habit for a lifetime. If your child is too young to readyou can help him select the books and read out a new story to him/her everyweek. Reading will not only help build his/her imagination but also help youkeep them away from being glued to the television screen.
8. Enroll your child creative workshops
Summers are a good time to let your children explore new hobbies byenrolling them into creative workshops for art and craft. It’s a good idea tolet your child experiment with things such as music, dance, drawing, potteryyoga among other things, as it helps them develop interests that can be pursuedlater in life as well. Exploring different hobbies through strikeal classes alsohelps them build confidence. But remember not to overdo the classes/workshops,it is a HOLIDAY after all.
9. Make a splash
Summers mean hot and sultry days. But it also means it’s time to splash intothe pool to cool off. Summer breaks can be the perfect time to help your childlearn swimming and enjoy some time in the water to cool off.
10. Have a house party
Most of all, don’t forget, holiday are a time to enjoy, and what better wayto enjoy than a party! Let your kids have a good time by calling other friendswith children over for dinners and lunches. You can even indulge in rain dancesat home with a garden hose on weekends or create a paddle pool for your youngones to create a splash in(An insider tip tells us it’s a great way to exhaustthe never ending energy that little ones have).
We hope you try some of these tricks with your children to make this summerholiday break more enjoyable. But do remember just this once – less ismore. So let your children enjoy his/her holidays with fewer regimes and morefun! We would love to have some more tips from all the parents on how they planto make their child’s holiday a rollicking one!