Keeping the children entertained during the long, hot, summer afternoons can be quite a challenge. For some parents, summer camps provide a solution to this dilemma, but not everybody can afford or choose to spend thousands of additional rupees just to keep the children occupied. Taking expensive trips which involves hotel rents and airfare is also not always an option. Hyper active children cooped up indoors can be difficult to manage but it is equally vexing to watch your children behave like couch potatoes and waste both time and opportunity.
Sometimes as parents we get so involved in the nitty-gritty of daily routines that we forget to enjoy parenthood with those who make our lives complete. So this summer take out time out of busy schedules and create fond family memories for yourself and your children by enjoying simple things together.
Rediscover the magic:
This summer introduce your children to the magic of classic Hollywood cinema. For each week of the month, select a classic and ask your child to read the book first and then watch the adaptation together. Whether it is the delightful Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz,” the pretty “Mary Poppins,” or brave Jim in “Treasure Island” select books according to your child’s age and get them enchanted by these timeless characters. Older children might prefer “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “A Little Princess” and “The Secret Garden.” Chuck your household chores for an evening and watch the movies with your children for a perfect Mom and children evening. Don’t forget the popcorns!!
Invest in Puzzle and Activity Books.
Dot–to-dot books, word search puzzles, crossword puzzles, logic problems, mazes, fit-the-word and jigsaw puzzles are great mind boosters and enhance children’s mental capabilities. They are also an ideal way to while away the long summer afternoons when children cannot play outdoors. Be there to piece together a difficult part or help them in their deducing quest. Remember to select books that are age appropriate. Too easy and your child will get bored quickly; too difficult and they’ll give up entirely.
Help your child start a collection:
Discuss a theme or a topic and help your child become an expert on that specific subject. It could be aeroplanes, boats, birds, coins, dolls, space exploration or any other topic of your child’s interest. Help him collect pictures and information from newspapers, magazines and the internet and compile them in a scrap book or journal. By the end of summer vacations, you’ll be proud of your little resident expert.
Visit historical places together.
Don’t leave it to the tourists to experience the wonderful sights and sounds of your city. This summer make a list of all the historical places and theme parks that are in the vicinity. Remember to include your children’s suggestions and preferences. Visit the museums, forts, mosques and wildlife parks. Keep a lookout for advertisements in local newspapers and take them to funfairs, puppet shows, art exhibitions, book fairs and any other activity that they cannot attend during school days.
Help improve their writing skills.
Children normally hate opening their pencil cases if they do not have any homework to do. This causes their writing skills and handwriting to deteriorate during the long layoff. By being creative (read devious!!), you can prevent this from happening. Let your child choose a nice diary or register and ask him to record his daily activities, write book and movie reviews, discuss his favorite television character or write about the trips you are making together. Casually ask him to use a dictionary to help with the spellings. Do not be critical about his work but offer suggestions and praise. This will encourage your children to be more creative, neat and organized and they’ll be improving their writing skills at the same the time.
Get closer to nature:
Children nowadays spend a lot of time indoors glued to television and computer screens. At least once a month, weather permitting, plan an outdoor picnic. Let your kids run around, climb trees, collect leaves, catch butterflies, observe insects, bike or scoot around or simply watch cloud shapes. This could also give them great material for their journals. Take their arts material with you and ask them to draw and paint the natural scenery around them.
Find Apprenticeship for children:
It is never too early for the child to learn the value of hard work and honest living. If you employ a driver, gardener, cook etc. make your child an apprentice for a while or teach your children the basics of these vocations yourself. Give them responsibilities pertinent to their age and make them responsible for that duty. If you or a near relative owns a shop, café, boutique etc. older children can learn the tricks of the trade and earn valuable experience early in the life. Just make sure that the environment is child friendly and does not pose any hazard to your child’s well being.
Children love to imitate their parents. Buy a fitness routine video and exercise with your children. If you have young kids, they’ll love to tumble around while trying to learn the intricacies of yoga or aerobics. Mothers can work out with teenage daughters and build camaraderie for these difficult years while fathers and sons can head for the nearest gym together. If you prefer long walks in the park, ask your kids to join you as well. While weight loss may not be an issue for growing kids, building stamina, getting fit and staying healthy is always great.
Have a great summer!!