Summer holidays – does this phrase conjure up memories of relaxed months that you spent playing with friends in the neighbourhood, of going to grand parents’ and relatives’ homes, with lots of time for free play and exploring? Your mother probably spent time catching up with the rest of the family and cooking for the large brood, while your father most likely stayed back at your home town (or city) and carried on his work routine. Fast forward to the present – when we look around us, we find that summer breaks are no longer the leisurely, lazy months where children are left to their own devices. Your thoughts, like those of many fellow parents, are most likely veering around questions like, “How am I going to keep my child engaged, entertained and stimulated for two whole months? How can I give her a sense of achievement and contentment at the end, even while she has a fun and relaxed time?” ParentEdge has put this feature together just for parents like you who want to ensure your children have a fun-filled learning experience this summer.
A different way to plan the summer break
Spread over two or more months, the summer break is the best time for your child to explore, experiment and take risks, and engage in activities that complement or supplement what she does during the school term. Summer breaks are a great time for children to dive deep into subjects of interest, immerse themselves in their passions, look around and understand their world better, hone their skills and more.
While researching this feature we spoke to many parents and children – we found that there is a dearth of ideas on how to keep children engaged during this long break. And so we have drawn up for you an age-wise ready reckoner of sorts (below and in the pages that follow), with categories of illustrative ideas. We hope you will find this useful to attempt a multi-pronged approach that enhances your child’s emotional, physical and mental well being.
How to choose activities
Ok, so, what is next? How do I pick what is relevant for my child? The guidelines that follow may be of some help: •Let your child take up at least one pursuit or project to be completed during the two month break. In this digital age when attention spans are low, sustaining interest in a task or a project over a long period of time can help inculcate persistence, patience and the much needed long term orientation in your child. She will also learn to plan and set intermediary goals. • Let your child pick an area of weakness to work on – let her decide what to focus on, based on where she thinks she will get the maximum benefit. The challenge may be related to academics – like poor spelling – or a behavioural issue like being short-tempered. Think of a game plan together and set measurable goals. The sense of achievement that your child will derive on making significant progress in her chosen area will help her start the new school year on a high. • Pull out your list of long-pending projects and see if there are any that can be tackled this summer – it could be setting up a garden in your balcony or, making a beginning in a new sport – co-opt your child and see if you can make this an interesting summer project. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone! •Remember, though, that this is an exercise in choosing a summer project for your child! So, be flexible and also consider ideas that do not excite or interest you. On a related note, do not force your child to pursue something that you believe is the right or the done thing. For example, if your ten year old daughter wants to try a Bollywood dancing class, encourage her, rather than persuading her to pursue singing, which is your passion! • 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. Itis 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.
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 behalf! With summer classes and camps mushrooming round every corner, you however need to separate the wheat from the chaff, while choosing the one best suited for your child.