It is that time of the year again, whereas a parent you discover your weekly budget has just tripled. As a child development specialist, it is that time when parents start asking you, “What do I do with my children?”.
Here is my guide to hacking the holidays
Activity: Let the children sleep and watch T.V
Yes, I mean it, imagine you have been reading for 3 months, the last thing you want to do is read some more. Don’t ask about school or grades, let your children chill. Most parents think of having extra school work, tuition or having a home school plan is good for the children. Here is some news, it is not good for your children, it may actually affect the way they view school and may lead them to hate school. By allowing them to sleep and catch helps them to settle, recollect and refresh. Home becomes a safe haven, where children can be themselves.
At the end of the week, set up sometime a minimum of 2 hours to sit with your children. This is the time to ask about the grades, school and any other thing that might have happened in the course of the term. Don’t be in a rush to get answers, listen to them, try to pick some none verbal communication. Take this time to bond with your children, also reflect on family goals set as a family at the beginning of the year. Also, make a plan for the holiday, ask your children, what they would want to do.
Personal development is not neccesarly school. Let your children learn something new every holiday. This does not have to be an expensive thing, it can be stitching, baking or woodwork, if you don’t have the skill, ask a friend who has the skill to help you out. This is not only good for your children future independence, but also it will be a great composition in school.
It is also time for children to give back to the community. Identify a project where as a family you can volunteer, do it as a family. This will help your children look beyond themselves.
Take leave, get some time to reconnect with your children. Have at least one day to have quality time with your children. Go for an escation, hiking, picnic or movies, again it does not have to be expensive, you can camp in your compound, go to Uhuru park, mama angina beach or masinde morilo gardens for a picnic. Buy DVDs and watch with your family or take a walk to the nearest forest. But the important thing is you have spent quality time with your children.
This week you can reintroduce school, finish up the school homework, talk about the bad grades and work on improving the grades, but don’t set up unrealistic expectations for your child.
Set up some time to plan for the next holiday.
Take the holiday time to connect with your children. Remember you are the only father or mother they have.
Enjoy your children company, they grow up so fast and you don’t want to feel you missed the growth.
Jennifer Kaberi, is founder and CEO of Mtoto News, an online platform for news, information and resources on children