Finally, the academic session has got over. Though I must say, the last year just flew by just like that. Kids are at home and so am I. The first feeling I got when I wrote the last sentence was that of being super-relaxed. I still get up at 5:30 am. Thanks to M, he convinced me to keep up my previous schedule of finishing off all my household chores by 8 am. So, be it. Here I am, blogging…and yes, I have had my breakfast too. I have now got time to read, write, listen to music, study (for my B.Ed exams next month) and watch good ol’ TV.
Now comes the I-am-scratching-my-brain-out part. KIDS + SUMMERS + HOLIDAYS = The Deadly Combination.
I am seeing every parent cribbing about it. Yours Truly included………………..till I thought otherwise.
Now, I am not much of a patient parent. I love my me-time and I am not a parent who can sit and do activities with my kids for a long time, if you know what I mean. The max I can do any such thing is for 15 minutes, after which my 33 year old brain asks me for a feed. Keeping this in mind, I think I have over-performed by going against the present times norms.
I CHOSE NOT TO SEND MY 3.5 yr old and 8 yr old TO A SUMMER CAMP. Why? Here it is:
1. Summer camps are highly over rated. Most of them do very basic activities and charge 2 – 3 K for about 20 days. Most of the times kids are sent to summer camps not for them, but for parents.
One, we do not know what to do with them. Ya, so whose problem is that?
Two, Kids get bored. True, but that is because we do not know what to do with them. Kids need direction. And we are unable to do so. Blame the weather, the heat, the holidays. So whose problem is that?
We could go on arguing or rather justifying how creative these ‘workshops’ or ‘camps’ are. But I would not agree. The rooms are cramped. There are atleast 15 – 20 children sitting in a room. Okay, maybe 10 in some cases. But at the end, it is a glorified version of a classroom session.
2. I want my kids to love being at home as much as being out.
Now, this is something very personal to me. As a growing up kid, I never used to like being at home. My parents were hardly there during day time. As I grew, friends took over my life. They meant everything to me. But I had friends who used to love going back home. The reasons were as simple as sitting in front of the cooler and watch TV while sucking orange lollies with their family. Because, I never got to do that, I want to do it with my kids. I want our kids to enjoy simple pleasures of life at home. This is the foundation that we build as parents for our kids, for them to find reasons to come back home as an adult. I am talking from experience.
3. Desperation brings out the best in us.
This may sound bitter, but it is truth as well. Children get bored. We hand over the i-Pads, our cellphones, X-box and the n number of gadgets in the market. While all this is not that bad, but I think it is taking over our lives, rather our children’s lives.
Howard Gardner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences speaks about Naturalistic Intelligence which is very organic in children. They are born with it, and it gets eroded as modern technology and external methodologies gets kicked in. It is basically the type of intelligence which a child or an individual develops when he/she is in touch with nature (plants, animals, mud, trees, playing with natural objects). Studies show today’s generation is lacking in this intelligence.
On the first day of the holidays, A came up and said, “I am getting bored. What should I do in the holidays?”
I said, “Go, figure it out. You can do whatever you want.” His next question was, “But what do I want?”
I deliberately did not offer any advice. I wanted to drive him to the level of desperation. After 15 minutes of roaming around aimlessly (It pained my heart, yes), he disappeared into his room. N followed obviously. After about one hour, emerged something that A made using a simple circuit based pencil cap light. I should have taken a picture to share here…Hmfff! I was left wondering I would have paid money to a summer camp for that one hour! This is just one of the instances I have shared here. Many have followed since.
So, what do my kids do at home?
- They both wake up by 7 am.
- They freshen up and drink milk by 7:45 am.
- A goes for cycling for half an hour, while N gets busy chit chatting with me while I complete my morning chores. She also ensures M gets ready on time shouting orders, “Papa, do faaaaast!”
- 8:30 – 9 am: They watch TV. I am not anti-TV. but at no given time can they watch TV for more than half an hour at one go. During school days its just 1 hour TV for both during the day. Holidays are more relaxed. 2 hours does no harm. I regulate what they watch. Some channels are banned in my home. For instance, A watched an amazing documentary on global warming today on NatGeo.
- 9 am – 10 am: Breakfast and laze around.
- 10 am – 11 am: Water time. They are in the bathroom with water toys. You gotta see my 8 and 3 yr old playing squealing with delight!
- 11 am – 1 pm: Miscellaneous jobs. They help me the kitchen with whatever little work I have. They have to be in their room and figure out whatever they want to do with their time and toys. Some TV perhaps. Yesterday, we went grocery shopping. It could be a visit to my neighbour’s house. Sometimes kids’ friends drop in.
- 1 pm: Lunch together
- 1:30 – 4 pm: N sleeps for about 2 hours. I do my Reiki, watch TV ( I just love watching Taarak Mehta ka Ulta Chashma, A watches with me), we read our respective books and take a nap of about an hour.
- 4pm – 5 pm: I cook dinner and the kids help me. They help me with washing the veggies, I am teaching A to differentiate between different pulses, cut tomatoes and the works. He is showing a lot of interest. They also water the plants and tend to them.
- 5 pm: Milk and outdoor play time.
- 7 pm -9 pm: Not a tough time to pass at all. M is back from work. Dinner, music, piano, chit chatting.
Now, where is the time for a summer camp?
Accept it, kids are kids. They will get bored quickly. They have high metabolism, quick brain activity and active bodies. It is holiday time. Take them to different locations, help them explore, chill at home and teach them to enjoy doing NOTHING. They are anyway going to school, hobby classes, tuitions through the year.
Let the kids be….It’s HOLIDAYS!