It is that time of the year again. Awaited, yet dreaded!
A pot full of mixed feelings for the parents, specifically mothers. On one hand, it is a reprieve from the early morning start and packing lunchboxes, and is a time for some vacation visiting family and places, yet it also puts forth a challenging predicament of how to keep our children occupied.
Summer vacations are here!
Working mothers have it even tougher. They cannot take more than a week’s vacation, yet need to ensure the children are fruitfully engaged while being safe and happy. Not an easy call at all.
While I am a supporter of this concept of summer camps as children do learn a few things there, I feel overdoing leads to colossal waste of this precious time that can be used for some useful parenting. Vacations are the time when the children are free and as parents, we get a chance to not only connect with them but also teach them some life skills.
We must pack a few things in their daily routine that is very essential for them in their personality development and will also empower them to lead their lives independently later.
- Making their beds – While during school days, we never ask them to make their beds, it is important that we insist on this during their vacation times. Why? According to US Navy SEAL Admiral, William McRaven, making your own bed the first thing in the morning sets the stage for a task completed, gives a sense of accomplishment to the child, and this sets the stage for a fruitful day ahead. Hear it here at – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgzLzbd-zT4
- Stepping out into nature – While sleeping in late is the most exciting aspect of the holidays, it will be okay to make them let go of their beautiful sleep and enroll them to either some morning camps or simply get them to play in the morning. 7AM, send them off from home and ensure they get a few hours of play till breakfast time. This will ensure they get the maximum out of the morning hours and also prepare them to a schedule of early morning studies when they grow up.
- Being on their own – Ensure the children also have a phase of ‘do anything’ or better still ‘do nothing’ in their schedule. This will enable them to laze around and calm down, but more importantly, it will enable them to befriend themselves. A trait that will come in handy if and when, in their future life, they are alone, as they will never be lonely. It enables them to develop their inner strength.
- Catching up on some good movies and books – Many core values can be driven into our children through some good movies. While today the schools use enough audio video tutorials, ensure you also sit and show them more. You can begin with the classics and then move on to show some award winning movies to imbibe in them the values of inner strength, sense of righteousness, taking tough decisions etc. Reading is another habit that you must encourage so that they are not only more aware and open-minded, they are also completely independent.
- Pursuing an art form – Whether it is a performing art like music, dance or drama or basic art form of drawing, painting or writing, ensure your children take up either one of these. Having an artistic hobby will keep them grounded and will also ensure a rich connect with their core culture helping them in developing their strong identity. I would also recommend that as a family you can get together and do music practice, take dance lessons or take up some pottery activities. It not only strengthens the roots but also develops the family bond.
- Spending time with elders and people in the community – This is of paramount importance to ensure they develop their social skills with a strong sense of empathy. Living for a few days with their grandparents gives them an insight into a life very different from their own and opens up their worldview. It also encourages habits of working, helping and supporting others – a very critical skill needed for their future professional life.
- Doing some household chores – Ensure they help you in smaller chores at home like tidying up their toys, to cleaning their rooms, to washing veggies etc. As they grow older, you can encourage them by getting them to do some basic cooking, sorting the laundry, running small errands and buying groceries. Cooking together as a family leaves very positive impressions in their hearts. A biscuit baking session with all odd-shaped biscuits can only strengthen the family bond! All these will enable them to not only value the importance of teamwork but will also teach them to manage money. And later in life, when they are on their own, these chores will not be burdensome for them.
Summers are fun. Let them enjoy, learn, and relax.