By Chaitali Shroff, Parent Coach, Social Emotional Learning Educator
We can’t escape the sweltering summer but let’s not sweat about summer vacation. All kids look forward to their summer vacation, and summer vacations are tough for the parents. With temperature soaring high outside as well inside the home!! Kids getting bored at home …Watching TV endlessly…Fighting big time…Troubling grandparents or care taker etc. The list goes on and on. Parents are busy at either home or work.
How do parents navigate these tough tides and ensure that they swim well at both home and office. Small things make a World of difference.
- Relax mom! It is a vacation!!
Easily said than done, isn’t it? Let’s relax our conditions for the summer vacation and not be a micromanager! Remember it is time for you to relax too; from the homework, tuition, getting up early and packing food. It is OK if your child gets up late or watches little bit more TV. Don’t feel that in a month your child is going to get used to these habits. They understand the difference between vacation and school time (yes, its surprising!)
- Unstructured time
STOP feeling guilty if your child is not occupied throughout the day. Lots of research has been done on the importance of the unstructured free time for kids. Our urban thinking is that, kids should have proper schedule during the vacation as well. All parents are trying to put kids to different classes and plan their day.
Adults know how much we hate the schedule and we long for a break from our routine. Then why do we try to make schedule for our kids during summer vacation?
Pause and Think. It is OK to get bored. It is OK to sit idle without doing anything. Our kids need to learn to be peaceful without doing anything. In fact, we need to learn that too!!
Let us give them that opportunity during summer vacation to figure out how to spend time by themselves.
- Every child is a planner
Make your child plan his/her own day with the things available at home. Set the time limit for the use of gadgets and anything specific you are particular about (ex. waking up , food time etc.). Let them take a piece of paper / chart and plan. You will be surprised, how wonderfully they plan their day. They may not do the activities which are in your mind but they will own up what they do. They will learn the skills like ownership and decision making.
- Involve them in household work
Give your child(ren) a job. If you’re finding it tough to engage children with toys, you aren’t alone. Make them feel important by giving them age-appropriate jobs. One day, they need to live their own life by themselves. They need to understand what all it takes to leave. Don’t forget to reward the kids to keep them going!
Let your children be a bigger part of your life by letting them own some weekends. Let them decide what they want to do, when and how. Following their lead – from planning for breakfast to figuring out which park to go or friend to meet – will give them a sense of accomplishment and let them learn that they’re responsible for their decisions. Also, it ensures less planning for you.
- Explore passion
Work with them to explore their passion. Let them choose their passion and plan for one goal in a month. Let them set the goal, plan and execute. Do not set any quality standards, please! Every single failure is an opportunity to learn.
- Day out with relatives
Do you remember how you used to go out to your relative’s house during your vacation and have fun? Nowadays, we are worried about their comfort a lot. We think, will my child get adjusted there? Will my child be OK without air conditioner? It is good to let them go! It is for them to experience life outside their comfort zone at home and for you to live without them for few days or weeks.
- Summer Camps
5 to 6 year old– There are lots of summer camps planned for toddlers in all the cities. The summer camp lasts for 3 to 4 hours daily. You can enrol your child in any place and extend the day care if possible.
6 to 12 year old – Tough category. They will find summer camp boring and childish . Look for specific activities which interest them. There are many moms run group classes at home. Generally mom from the same school. Kids will find it interesting to be with known kids and age appropriate activities.
- Book Library
Create a love for reading in them! Get them enrolled into library and make them spend some time every day.
- Relaxing vacation
I am sure you would have planned for a family vacation!! Family vacation with kids; not a joke! Yes, you will get relieved from home responsibilities but managing kids outside home is a complete different task! When you select your vacation destination, try to select kid friendly spot. Less travel, resorts with kids zone and swimming pool. You want to carry few story books, sketch book with crayons, age appropriate games.