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Engaging your children during the long vacation

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Summer Holiday<br />Photo credit: ifeps.org

The long vacation popularly called summer holidays are here again (we don’t have summer here, so should we question it?).

This is a period parents feel they have a lot more to deal with, but then it is a time to ensure that you get the best from your kids; what is their strengths, develop, enhance, nurture and help them become independent responsible adults.

There are a whole lot of activities to develop a child during this period. Anu Akinola, Center Director Xtraokids Centers (Surulere and Lekki) describes the summer vacation as the longest holiday within the school academic calendar, “it is usually two months of vacation for children and this poses a dilemma for many parents.

“The holiday should be planned effectively to cover both the academic and social aspects of the child. During this period, learning should not stop.

The holiday should not comprise of wide gaps, time should not just be spent unplanned at home watching TV and playing video games, however, it should be a mix and match of various fun activities that will enhance learning and growth of a total child.”

She said that the summer break is an opportunity where wonderful memories can be formed, as parents and children find time to bond while travelling together or engaging in some special activities.

“It is also a good opportunity for children to take on new skills and reinforce old ones.

However, for many children and families, it could be one of the most boring and precarious periods if children are not engaged properly. Therefore, parents need to plan the holiday well and in advance.”

On activities children can be involved in, Akinola said: “There are various activities to engage children during the summer break.

In planning, parents can make a list of activities to be done within and outside the home.

They could create a-to-do list of different things to do daily like art and crafts, cookery at home, starting a vegetable garden, reading challenge, learning dancing, flying a kite, visit historical sites together, among others.

“These and many more can be done at home with parents and siblings, these activities create memories and bonding with parents and especially help develop the emotions of young children.

Finding time to spend with your children during the holiday is one of the best gifts you can give them, ensuring that they turn out to be happy and socially well-adjusted children.”

The educationist also said that outside the home, there are also many activities during the summer break to engage your children, like the summer camps, which could be resident or daily camps.

These camps create opportunities for children to build resilience and a perfect opportunity to optimise children’s psychosocial development, they get the opportunity to boost their coping strategies with the simple and sometimes complex activities done at camps, working in groups with new peers and taking controllable amount of risks without a parent’s following up is a good way to spend the summer.

“Other activities could include learning a new skill like riding a bike, swimming, learning a new computer program and tailoring.

This provides openings for children to develop areas of interest.

Your children may not be able to discover and develop inherent skills if they are not exposed to various activities; the summer period provides an opportunity for this. Parents should take the decision of how to engage their children with their age and interest in mind.”

She added that bearing in mind that school will be resuming in September, parents should be careful to mix and match all the activities and be sure to include academic work.

The holiday is a good opportunity for improving or reinforcing academic skills of the previous term and also preparing them for the new session.

If the academics and social skills are not carefully blended, some children find it difficult settling down back to school after the very long holiday.

A summer program like the one Xtraokids child center (http:// www.facebook.com/xtraokids/) provides, blends these interests and activities together, is one every parent should look out for.

 


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