The eternal cry of a child on day two of the school holidays (sometimes even on day one)! When I was a child I was told to go and play outside, or go to my friend’s house. Nowadays that could be seen as ‘putting the child in harm’s way’ by not supervising the child outside, or by allowing the child to make their own way to their friend – how times have changed.
A common complaint parents voice is that children spend too much time in front of the TV or playing x-Box games or spending time on the computer. Yet they don’t seem to have alternatives to offer the children. They are quick to cite reasons they don’t spend time with the children – too busy, work to do, appointments to keep, too busy … oh, yes, and too busy.
The first stage in solving the child-boredom problem is the parent’s commitment to be involved in the solution.
So what are YOU going to do to alleviate this cry from your little bundles of joy this coming year-end, school-free period? With the greatest of respect, I suggest you start planning now. Naturally the age of the children will play a part in the various activities that you line up for them to do, but whatever they are, you’re going to get a lot of mileage from careful planning and by allowing for a variety of activities.
There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the “holiday clubs” sometimes arranged by schools and churches that keep them occupied for some mornings – and for busy parents this is an ideal solution that allows you to relax in the knowledge that they are being mentally stimulated in a safe environment. But I think that parents make the mistake of using that club activity as the only thing they “organise” – all they’ve done is organise a scheduled event. What about the rest of the time when they kids are at home? And if Mrs Jones says it’s ok for them to come and play at her house with her kids, are they also being plonked in front of the TV all day too?
The best memories I have of my childhood were those I spent with my family. I have some amazing memories of times with my friends – but they’re not the best. What do you want your children to remember as the best?
That’s not to say that there won’t be times they will be watching TV or playing games on the x-Box, but the idea is to not have that occur for the whole 6 weeks they will be at home, away from school.
By making a supreme effort in planning a programme of special activities these coming holidays will make a profound impression on your children’s memories. Are you up for the challenge?
Let me start with a tip: Design some activities that DON’T involve other families – while your relatives and friends might be important to you, some distance from them and total focus by you on only your kids will make an enormous impression on them. You’ll be ‘saying’ to them that they are special and more important than anyone else.
Prepare a programme that will involve some outdoor as well as indoor activities, but make the outdoor plans close to home so that you don’t have to drive for hours to get there and then hours back home again – must I remind parents of what fun car travel is with restless and cranky children? And while you’re travelling from A to B, plan some stops (apart from toilet breaks) that add interest and variety to the trip. When last did you just stop in the middle of nowhere to look at the view? To take a few photos? To pick some flowers or talk to some sheep? Kids will remember that! Why is getting there at a specific time so important that you have to rush, rush, rush?
Keep watching this blog for more on this subject – with some more ideas on activities! Part 2 will follow …