That said, if you need to provide adult supervision for your children outside the home for long stretches in the day (8 hours and above), and cannot manage the logistics of picking up from and dropping
to multiple classes, you can still explore full day summer camps.
There is no right or wrong summer activity, only what works for your family and what does not.
Whichever camp or class you choose, do not forget to ask the following questions:
- Are the outcomes of the camp/class clear? Does your child know what she is going to accomplish?
- Are the people at the class friendly, trained, and motivated?
- How well laid out are the safety and emergency procedures?
- What is the ratio of facilitators to children?
Here are some age-wise approaches you can use to prepare for an extraordinary summer break.
Children below 9 years
Involve the child in daily household activities
Young children follow their parents around– wanting to participate in cleaning the car, emptying the garbage can, cutting vegetables etc. It is us adults who fear the mess and possible physical injury. Instead, this summer, encourage your child to help around the house. Not only will she
be proud of the results, she will also be gainfully employed!
Make the child self-sufficient
Children in this age group are making the most transitions – from home to child care/ day care / playgroup, from playgroup to school, and from half-day school to full day school. They are also mastering many skills – eating on their own, taking a bath on their own, doing their own hair etc.
If you have resisted your child’s progressions for valid reasons – e.g. your daughter insists on plaiting her hair and you are almost late for the car pool – the summer break may be just the right time
to let your child go to the next level in whatever she wants to do by herself.
Try out challenges
Children often feel bound by rules and regulations. The summer break may be just the time to let them challenge a few of those ‘rules’, and define some anew. Yes, offer your son a ’Eat-what-you-like-week’
or your daughter a ’Wear-what-you-likeday’ and both your children a ’Do what you like day’. This may be the best way for them to learn that freedom comes with responsibility, and mindless indulgence
with not-so-pleasant outcomes. Again, you may be the one who will be surprised. Perhaps your daughter’s unusual clothing choices are great after all and perhaps the controls on television watching are far too stringent? Go into this experiment with an open mind and have fun in the process.
Make time for all those harmless little wishes of your child had that you never had time to fulfil (“Not now, honey.”) – riding the big, red bus to see where it goes, a midnight feast at the playground,
a play date with a classmate who lives very far away – and see the smiles on your children’s faces.