By: Dr. Dipti B. @Dipti_b, INN, Chennai;
Summer holidays are here and this reminds me of how eagerly I used to wait for them during my school days. Two months of no studies, no homework, no projects and there was so much time for doing all those things that I really loved and enjoyed. Times are changing and sadly, children are gradually losing their childhood. They are under the constant pressure of performing well academically. Thus, they no longer have leisure time, and the little time whatsoever left is spent on digital media.
Keeping this in mind, I have compiled my own ideas and suggestions from the people I know, about how we can make holidays an enjoyable period for the kids again, in an attempt to restore their childhood and make it a memorable one.
PURSUING THEIR HOBBIES
Every child is different, and based on what he/she likes, he/she can learn dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, drawing, painting, various other art forms and so on and so forth.
With the current lifestyle changes, it is important to involve kids in daily physical activity. We can enrol them in games like shuttle badminton, swimming, tennis, squash, cycling etc.
Encouraging kids to play in groups will instil a sense of team-spirit, teach them fair play, the importance of both winning and losing and also co-operation and coordination with everyone.
HOME BASED SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS
Children learn better when they have audio-visual memories about the things taught to them at school. We can help them perform simple, home-based science experiments with materials that are cheap and easily available. This will make understanding and learning so much fun!
This is a must-know for all kids. Children being physically weaker than adults are more vulnerable to abuse. When added to counselling, this will give them a greater edge when it comes to protecting themselves.
Kids can also help in kitchen and gardening. Also, they’ll love to see the ‘fruits’ of their hard work and will surely enjoy eating them too!Teaching them to plant a sapling will make them responsible to keep their surroundings clean and green.
Children can be taken to farms, small-scale industries, factories, eco-gardens etc to show them how crops are raised, animals are reared and how different products are made.
TRAVELLING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Travelling and exploring places like monuments can make even a boring subject like history interesting! They can spice it up by learning photography and making their own travel diary or scrap-book!
Kids can write simple articles or poems about what they see and feel and can contribute their little bit to newspapers, magazines etc. They are those innocent souls, which when given the tool to think aloud, can positively influence the community. Drawing or painting are other ways to bring out the best in them.
Some children are really good at acting and role-playing and when shown the right path, they can enact plays about things that matter to them. Short movies, skits etc can be used as tools to bring people together for good causes.
We must let youngsters explore various career options, as per their field of interest. They can talk to people of different professions, know the pros and cons of each of them, their scope etc. This will give them a sense of direction, make them more focused and work hard towards their goals.
EARNING AND SAVING
We can give kids a chance to have an idea about the amount of hardwork we, as adults put in, to give them a comfortable life. They can be rewarded with small amounts of money for helping us in daily chores. They can also work with all kinds of people from various fields to know about the work involved in each of them. Also, teaching them the importance of saving little by little, maintaining their own account, will help them balance between spending and earning later in life.
Teach kids the art of best out of waste, which will be one small step towards saving the environment. They can also visit sites where waste is recycled and see how it is done.
Reading story-books, novels, newspapers, magazines, journals etc (appropriate for their age) will help in building their vocabulary and communication skills. Great communication skills command a lot of confidence in anyone.
Try avoiding or restricting the following to a minimum for a healthier lifestyle:
Also, as it is commonly said, that “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, schools must avoid giving children projects and homework during their vacations. This will only over-burden them, again leaving them with no time to spare for other activities.
Eating together with the whole family at meal-time is a great practice. Avoid switching on the TV. Instead, interact with each other. This will increase the affection and bonding among the family members.
GETTING CREATIVE AND INNOVATIVE
Let kids get as creative and innovative as they can. Encourage them, help them convert their ideas into reality. Do not try to narrow their thinking or their ability to ask questions. Rather, help them find the answers (but, no spoon-feeding). Don’t stop them, for fear of their failure. Instead, ask them not to give up even if they fail. Allow them to dream, and at the same time, push them to pursue it. “Cut not the wings of their dreams”, and you will sooner or later, see them going places!