I do not have anything against the summer camps but I find them totally stressful. For months, I am forced to get out of bed, forced to think what to prepare for breakfast and pack for school snacks and forced to dress decently so I don’t look groggy while dropping my kids to the bus stop. So, I personally feel I need a break at some point, and the ‘summer holidays’ is that point in my life where I can wake up when the kids do and be with them and kiss them all day; basically, I can mess up routine. My mother told me she never had this opportunity of spending the summer holidays with us, so I vowed to be with my kids, for her too, until I can.
Also, very soon our kids are going to have their own friends and their own plans. They are going to have their own lives, which we may or may not be a part of. Tomorrow, if God forbids, the unthinkable happens and I am not able to spend this God given time with my kids, I will regret the times that I could have but was too busy doing something else. Yes, we all have the right to do what we want because we cannot be mothers all the time and we need our time too, but I think I can adjust a little for the sake of my children, can’t I?
Not all of us have the chance of spending our holidays at our ‘maikas’ (parent’s house), do we? We have to make the most of it while we can. So, this is what I do to keep my kids busy, happy and routine free – with no specific timing allotted to any of the below.
Wake up late: Well, I look forward to this time of the year so I can wake up when I want, at least not as early in the morning as on school days. Comfortably, with my pyjamas, I prepare breakfast and serve lunch. Yeah! If you are not a mother yet, you will understand only when you become one! Hahaha!
Homework page: Just so they don’t forget their basics and to help develop a good hand at writing, I make them do a page of cursive writing, besides an activity page if they want to. No other homework. Back in the Gulf, because the summer holidays came in the midst of the academic year, we had plenty of homework to get done before we got back to school. Not here so… Phew! Relief!
Swimming: Children have a lot of energy built up in them and there should be ways to exhaust them every day. A sports activity is always good to tire them. If two, then it’s even better. Some outdoor activities to sweat it out (you can join them too) are swimming, tennis, badminton, etc. What is your child interested in?
Story time: Save an hour for story time so either your child or you can read a good story while answering multiple questions about it. It can be more of an interactive session, so sometimes we watch a movie and I find myself answering questions every minute. At times, I’m supposed to know what’s going to happen next! Mothers of toddlers, how many days do you take to watch a movie?
Play time: Fun time can be on from the time they wake up until the time they have to sleep. During these hours, we play Uno, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, on a loop. My daughter hates to lose so she continues to play until she wins. While we are playing board/card/engineering games, my son takes his evening snooze for a couple of hours or joins us. Otherwise, the kids play ‘house-house’ or hide and seek and create a ruckus at home. Needless to say, I have gotten immune to the noise.
Activity time: In the noon, for a couple of days, every week, we paint while the little one sleeps. This enhances our creative skills and gives us an idea on how to paint decently. Of course, you can spend this time cooking or even spotting peacocks during the monsoons but I prefer dedicating my focus to painting, considering my daughter loves to paint, too. Sometimes, I spend a lot of time creating hairstyles because I believe God gave us daughters for a reason!
Random dancing: I love to dance and so do my kids, so we allot a couple of hours each morning/evening to dance on a few ‘item’ numbers. This allows us to be fit and fine. Cunningly, if I’m lazy to dance, I resort to Simple Simon games where I tell them to perform an action, like jump ten times or jog thirty times, and give them a high five for each time they succeed, but this works with the tiny tots only.
TV time: I agree that watching the ‘idiot box’ is not good for the eyes but now-a-days there are loads of educative cartoons on it. Dora the Explorer has taught my child Spanish numbers and ideas on how to get to a certain place with a map. Baby TV has educated my children with singing songs that include numbers and alphabets and how to distinguish between various colours, so, a little device time has proved to be beneficial to us.
Go for a walk or a day trip: Nothing is more memorable than going on walks with your parents. And nothing is more satisfying than remembering the days you went on impulsive day trips with your children. Yes, it takes courage to go alone with the children but if we wait for the busy husbands to accompany us at all times, we will grow old. Today, we have Google to show us what is around us and what places are good to explore with children of different ages, use it.
There are many mothers who go out of their way and prepare games themselves just so their children are busy. There are also those who are out with their kids all day. Those are the over-enthusiastic mothers and I admire them but though I am not one of those, I try to do my best and spend all the time possible with the kids.
Also, travelling with your children during the holidays is a good thing because they get a different kind of exposure, become smarter and happier. I read somewhere that there have been improvements in a child’s attention and concentration levels after spending barely twenty minutes in nature. So, if you’re deciding whether to get them glued to a device or take them on a holiday with you, reflect on the effects of bonding with your children and the benefits of their brain development and MAKE A WISE DECISION!
We have even taken our kids to THAILAND! Check out the post and see what you can do with them there, too!