School days can be quite stressful and I look forward to the summer holidays when I can sleep till my eyes open automatically, without an alarm ringing in my head. I can avoid the yelling and rushing in the mornings and can step out of bed with calm nerves. Comfortably, in my pyjamas, I can serve breakfast and lunch and finish my work. Do you understand, why this is a luxury, too?
I do not have anything against the various summer camps available, but I find the day-time ones equally stressful. For months, I am forced to get out of bed early in the mornings, forced to think what to prepare for breakfast and pack for snack box and forced to dress up so I look decent enough while dropping my kids to school. So, personally, I feel that my kids and I need a break from all this. Basically, I just want to erase the morning chaos for a while because I am not a morning person.
My mother once told me that she never had the opportunity of spending the summer holidays with us. I loved that she used the word ‘opportunity’ and being an opportunist myself, I vowed to be with my kids, for her too, as much as I could. Plus, tomorrow, when my children are older and have their own lives, I don’t want to regret the times that I could have spent with them and did not. So, this is how I try my best to bond with the kids, while keeping them busy, happy and routine free, during the summer holidays.
Homework sheets: 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. Here, just so that the kids don’t forget their basics and to help them develop a good hand at writing, I make them do a page of cursive writing, besides an activity page or worksheet. No burden at all.
Sports activities: Tiring them with a sports activity is a must. If they are small, two hours in a play park is good too. Some sports activities, we indulge in, are swimming, tennis, badminton, cycling, etc. Which activity is your child interested in?
Story time: Reading is important because it develops our thoughts and gives us endless knowledge while keeping our minds active. Teaching young children to read helps them to learn and listen. I love reading too so I save some time for story time which can also turn into an interactive session with toddlers. Following in my footsteps, my older one faithfully reads one book a day.
Game time: Game time can be on anytime, from the time they wake up until the time they have to sleep. There are many mothers who go out of their way and prepare organic games themselves. That is awesome too, but I’m not one of them so I resort to the store-bought games like Uno, Scrabble, Snakes and Ladders, Chess, Dobble, etc. My daughter hates to lose so she continues to play until she wins. And no, I don’t just let her win just because she is ‘small’. According to me, she needs to learn how to handle defeat. Indoor games is probably the most easiest activity where you can bond with your kids without any stress.
Indoor activities with toddlers
Indoor activity time: Sometimes, the siblings are left to play with each other. Other times, while the little one sleeps, my daughter and I paint. This enhances our creative skills while keeping the house mess-free. We also try and create some gorgeous hairstyles on her. When our toddler is awake, all three of us spend an hour dancing or, when I’m exhausted, playing ‘Simple Simon’. House chores come under this category too. They love helping me hang the clothes to dry, or mixing something in the kitchen. Play-dates and sleepovers are also a great way for them to indulge in various indoor activities.
Family screen time
Screen time: I agree that watching the ‘idiot box’ for a long time 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 follow a path. Baby TV has educated my children in a number of ways, so, limited device time has proven to be beneficial to us. Read more here.
Evening walks with kids
Evening walks: Nothing is more memorable than going on long leisure walks with your parents, so, why not make those memories for our children, too? Besides, walking, in fresh air, is very important as it improves your overall health and strengthens your muscles. I try to go for my evening walks, with the kids, as much as possible.
Day trip to Lepakshi
Beach time with kids
Travelling to places: Travelling with your children during the holidays is a great thing because they become smarter, feel happier and get a different kind of exposure. I read somewhere that there can be improvements in a child’s attention and concentration levels even if they spent twenty minutes with nature. Try and do a day trip, if not an international one, so that they are aware of the various places they visit. . Take them to a beach. A family trip to the beach enhances collaboration between children, calms them down and injects some fun into their world. Read here about our trip with the kids to THAILAND!
Shopping with kids
Mall visits: Whenever possible, I drive the kids to a mall or a play zone close by. I try and avoid going on weekends because it is overcrowded. Weekdays are the best if you want to enjoy the mall or play zone facilities to the maximum and not worry about losing your child in the crowd. Plus the kids have plenty of space to walk freely while shopping or window shopping.
Learning Activity kits
Learning activity kits: There are several learning activity kits in the market today. Intellikit, Flintobox and the like. We have used the former and were quite happy with what we got to know my little one wasn’t aware of. He speaks a lot but I realized that he did not know how to count so began teaching him with the learning activities and worksheets available in the kit.
Everyone has their own views on how we should bring up children and how much of time they should spend with them. I’m a mother of young children, so perhaps the above works for similar mothers like me. I mean it is way easier to play and dance with the younger children than with the older ones unless you have built that kind of rapport with them. If you know someone who would benefit from the above pointers, do share it with them. Or if you have some more points that I can add up here, please do mention it in the comments below. Cheers and have a happy holiday!
#LetsBlogwithPri is a Blog Train hosted by Prisha Lalwani, Author at Mummasaurus. I wholeheartedly thank Shreya Gautam, Author at Four Tiny Feet, for introducing me in her blog about how we can get vacation ready. Also, I would like to introduce Gayatri Deshmukh, Author at MotherlyMess. Do read her blog on how to get your kids to sleep.