Free time is a summer birthright. It’s alright if you find that there are days when your child is doing nothing. It is also fine if your child complains of boredom once in a while. It is not necessary — in
fact, it is not advisable — to pack each day with so much that it actually ends up cramping your child’s creativity.
Tips for working parents
Draw on the magnanimity of grandparents. If they stay in the same city, let the children spend time with them, teaching them computer skills or just taking a walk together. Remote grandparenting is valuable too! Yes, telephone and Skype calls can be used for storytelling sessions with small children. The right
tools can ensure that your older tween plays chess or Scrabble with grandma every afternoon.
Form a group of like-minded parents. Draw up a schedule for the coming week, with each of you
volunteering a few hours to take the group of children to a museum, the zoo, or a dance show. Or, you could bank on home makers for the week days and take charge of the weekends.
Picking summer camps and classes
While it is quite possible to organise your child’s summer activities without attending camps and classes, one cannot deny that there are advantages when someone else does the thinking and organising on your
However, with summer classes and camps mushrooming around every corner, you need to separate the wheat from the chaff and look at your child’s and your family’s unique needs while choosing the one best
suited for your child.
While classes are of shorter duration and last a few hours, camps are usually longer, lasting 8-10 hours. Also, the former generally focus on one specialised area e.g. swimming or painting, while summer camps
offer a range of activities, from singing and dancing to craft and games. Young children like to try out a range of activities as they are usually still undecided about what they like best. However, children younger than nine may be better off with shorter camp durations of less than four hours. They will
also be comfortable around familiar faces, so, choosing a class offered by the same school that the child goes to, or a camp in the neighbourhood that her friends will attend as well, may be the thing to do.
Most children aged 13 and above would prefer to take up an interest close to their heart and devote their attention to it, rather than dabble in many things. For this age group, specialised sports classes
(tennis, cricket etc.), hobby classes (sketching, music lessons etc.) and classes that need special equipment (robotics, aero modelling etc.) are more suitable. This age group is also more enthusiastic about outdoor programmes (camping, trekking, climbing etc.)