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How much fun should kids have this Christmas?

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
15 December 2018   |   4:18 am
It’s another Christmas season. Kids look forward to this season, which takes them away from schoolwork, give them opportunity for more play, have fun and...

A Family at Christmas. Photo credit: Video Blocks

It’s another Christmas season. Kids look forward to this season, which takes them away from schoolwork, give them opportunity for more play, have fun and share in the joy of the season. But then, how much fun should they have this season, knowing that it is for a short while as school resumption is about three weeks ahead.

According to Ronke Adeniyi, head, Le Poshe School, Ikoyi. “Play is the work of a child,” says Maria Montessori. Even when children are doing what we adults call work, it should be done in a fun way. I believe children should be allowed to relax and enjoy the festive season especially children that have been away from home in boarding schools.

“Parents and guardians should endeavour to plan for a day they spend with their children so they don’t feel left to themselves. An idle mind is said to be the devil’s workshop, hence the children should be engaged so they are not up to activities that are not constructive.

“Having fun does not mean allowing children to spend significant amount of time playing with gadgets, but we can channel their energy in activities they enjoy like football, swimming, reading, coding, braiding or cooking.”

While stressing that the festive break helps to refresh and prepare them for the next term, Adeniyi said that rest is certainly great for everyone. It will certainly refresh the children as they relax at home and bond with friends and family.

“However, children should be engaged constructively; a planner can be prepared for the children. It is not a long holiday so it’s not a big job. If we fail to plan, we plan to fail. So let’s get it right. We perhaps already have some plans for the kids; the older ones can be involved in the planning.

“We can make a list of activities the children will like to do and then create a timetable so everyone remembers what needs to be done. Many of the children will enjoy an extended time in bed in the mornings. They also tend to go to bed later. I still tell parents to set a time for bedtime and wake-up time. Including meal times, activity time, outdoor play time, rest time, free play and structured activities.”

The parenting enthusiast also said that parents should be mindful of activities their children engage in particularly during the holiday. It is said that physical, verbal and sexual abuse is higher during holidays because parents are busy working and getting things organised. The children are left to themselves or with domestic workers some of which can pose a risk to children.

Adeniyi said that parents should know where their kids are and what they will be doing. Those who abuse children are not usually strangers, so we can’t be too trusting at this time.

On the theme of the season, which is giving and sharing in love, she advised that if it’s part of the values or belief system of the family, parents could teach their children about the joy of giving and sharing.

“Children can be made to understand that not everyone has the basic necessities of life. It is also said that owning a phone makes one most likely about the top 20 per cent of the richest people in the world.

“Children should be taught to value what they have and they can give away things which are small or unwanted but still in good condition. They can visit the aged, orphans or those with additional needs and learn how they live, show them love and share with them too.”

In conclusion, children should be taught to show acts of kindness to people, which is important to helping them become responsible, healthy adults. The festive season is, however, a period where such traits can be enhanced, while having fun with your family and friends.