Summer camp guide for parents
The summer holidays are here and children have their long break off from school. While the children are happy to get time off school, parents naturally face the question of what to do with the children over the summer holidays.
Parents have to think through the many options on how to keep the children occupied over the summer holidays. As the popular saying goes “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” but on the other hand we also know that “idle hands are the devil’s workshop and idles lips are his mouthpiece” – Proverbs 16:27 (TLB).
Finding the right balance is critical especially with the easy access to the Internet, television, and devices. It is important that children are kept busy and supervised so that they do not have excessive access to screen time.
Parents Guide to Summer Activities
Young Children (0 -8)
. Play dates: Children of this age love play dates. I recommend that most of their play dates should be screen time free to encourage physical interaction.
. Summer Camps for this age group is always a great idea. Here they can get to spend time on different skills and activities. The best camps are those that have a variety of activities and offer a mix of fun and learning. There is a summer camp for every budget.
. Sleep/Rest: Yes it is summer and the children should enjoy some days off. Let them enjoy not having to wake up early for school.
Older Children (9 – 15)
. Play dates: These age groups still want to hang out with their friends. Spending time with friends could include going to watch a movie or going to an amusement park. Once again we recommend limiting screen time so that the children actually engage with each other. Be sure to monitor whose house they are going to and what activities they will be getting up to.
. Summer Camps: For this age group you will be more aware of their talents and interests and so we recommend you choose summer camps based on interest. Camps that encourage a variety of skills are a great option.
. Internships: At this age, children can be engaged in either paid or unpaid internships. It is a great time for them to start to understand the value of
hard work. You can start with them going to work with either parent or helping out at the office of a relative. Be sure to monitor the environment they will be going to and be sure they will be adequately supervised.
. Learn A Skill: The summer is a great time for a child to learn or develop a talent or learn a vocational skill like sketching, sewing, App development and so much more.
. Additional Lessons: Some children do need extra help to get ready for the next school year. This can especially be needed if there is going to be a major change. For example switching from a Nigerian curriculum to British curriculum school can be a major change. It could be helpful to help a child get familiar with the change in academic delivery.
Mature Children (15 and above)
All the different elements we discussed above apply. However, I recommend that for children of this age group some form of job experience should be a priority. There is no excuse to stay home all summer with no responsibility.
. Internships: Getting a paid job is a great way to learn the value of money and to see what goes into holding a job. Learning job ethics is best when it is practical. Be sure to monitor the environment they will be going to and be sure they will be adequately supervised.
. Volunteer: A child at this age can volunteer his or her time to a cause they are interested in. Learning to give back is important and the earlier they start this the better. Everyone has something they can volunteer; it could be to help in an orphanage, church etc.
. Teach: Children of his age could choose to teach at summer camps and other traditional camps.
. Visit interesting places: This also applies to all the age groups, but this is a great time to visit interesting places. This could be either in your home city or if you do travel.
. Self-Learn: There are so many options for learning new skill online for free. This is where the Internet is very useful. Sites such as coursera, udemy among many are a few of the many online learning portals available. YouTube also offers lots of videos to learn a range of topics.
Whatever children do this summer; they should stay safe and be actively engaged. Reading and journaling are additional great ideas for all ages as it is always useful to document all the adventures of the summer. Children are usually surprised about the things they got up to at the end of the summer if they take the time to record their experiences.
For a list of summer camps available visit LagosMums Summer Camp Guide at LagosMums.com, a parenting and family life resource.
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