Vacations for children are fun for them but almost a nightmare for parents. But holidays can be a happy time for your kids and a stress free time if proper planning is done.
It is not surprising to find many single and working parents dread school vacations. This s because most parents have to be at work. If proper planning is done, one may be able to block out their own vacation time to coincide with that of their youngsters. This way one or both parents is able to actively stay home with their children. Where need be, parents can be able to sign up their children for holiday activities such as camps, and club activities, vocational trainings or even cooking clubs.
Finding the right childminders is often a challenge especially here in Kenya where we have very little legislation that properly regulates the provision of child care services by individuals or organizations that are doing so. You will find that most children are simply left in the hands of nannies who in most cases are needed most for household chores rather than the direct supervision of children as they play or move about.
For child protection enthusiasts, We believe that school holidays do not have to be an enduring period where parents can’t wait to take their children back to school. As challenging as it maybe, there are lots of ways to make holidays a great time to bond with children and to keep nurturing them to develop into happy, self-motivated young adults.
Here are some tips for parents to manage the school holidays.
1. Involve others.
Your friends, neighbors especially those with children could also be trying to find ways to entertain their children during school holidays. Try to find people with almost similar parenting styles. More often than not children have a way of being the ones who bring parents in a community together. Maximize on this, and use these connections as they are mutually beneficial.
2. Use local resources.
Community resources such as churches, libraries often have craft activity sessions and sometimes they are likely to be inexpensive. Try to find out more by looking at noticeboards of local community centres, churches, malls and ask other parents for ideas.
To encourage reading, visit a nearby library, read a book to your children or ask them to read for you. An hour or so is good enough, then follow this up with a meal or snack at a cafe. Your children will love you for this!
3. Look out for other activities.
Be on the lookout for activities such as camps is sports’ events that could be happening in your local community. Most churches in Kenya run some kind of holiday clubs most of which are open to the larger community. This is especially good for sporty children.
4. Use extended family.
Let your children spend sometime with cousins and grandparents. You may do this for a night or two depending on a child’s age and the distance involved.
However, it is good to be extra cautious when you leave your children in the hands of extended family. Unfortunately some children experience neglect, violence and abuse in the hands of caregivers who are family. Studies have shown that sexual abuse isn’t normally committed by a stranger. Carefully consider this option, and be vigilant on who is around your children. Always teach your children to report any suspicious behaviour to you or an adult they can trust.
5. Always plan ahead.
As mentioned earlier, try taking your own vacation same time as your children. They need you the most.
If planning to enroll them in clubs or activities do it well in advance and explain it to your children. Do not sign them up for activities the whole time. Space out the activities so they do not feel like they are being rushed from one thing to another.
Make sure you have plenty of indoor activities in hand especially for rainy days or days you need to work for a few hours. The internet is full of fun activities to do with children at home.
6. Plan a Treat for the end.
Call it the grand finale of the holidays! Plan to take your children to a special place or do something they have wanted to do for a while.
Fir starters, This can act as a milestone that the holidays are over and everyone will be going back to school or work.
Secondly it acts as a good reward for good behaviour during the holidays. This will give everyone including you something to look forward to.
Last but not least, boredom has never killed anyone. You really do not need to entertain your children all the time. Boredom is good because it encourages self-reliance and allows children to learn to be creative on their own. Embrace this concept because it will save you some sanity.
Hope you enjoyed the read. Happy holidays everyone!