I know many parents may not agree to this statement – that vacations are meant to give your kids that much-needed break and let them do just what it’s meant for – to chill!
The reason I say this is my own friends have a varying reaction to this simple statement. While some are in a race to get their kids into as many hobby classes, summer camps and activities as possible, some will do with much less, while some are okay to let their kids just be at home.
This year we did not head out anywhere for the vacations. The reason being that me and daughter had just returned from a trip barely a few weeks before the vacations started, and are again heading out, in fact right after school re-opens (talk of mommy encouraging little one to bunk!) 😉
So, even as I was thinking whether or not to enroll my daughter in any classes, she solved the problem by telling me on her own what all she wanted to do. Since she was already in the swimming classes, I told her it would continue through the vacations, especially as she enjoys it and also because right after vacations, she wouldn’t be able to do it for at least the next 5-6 months, with the monsoons coming over and all pools being open (in fact, even as I write, the monsoon has already hit Mumbai and I’m sitting looking at clouds and feeling the light drizzle drifting in through the balconies). Sorry, going back to the point now.
My daughter gave me a list of classes she wanted to join and since she was so keen, I told her I would take her to all the classes to let her see and think which ones she really wanted. So it was that I took her to check out summer camp, tennis, dance, drawing, art and craft, kids yoga – these were the ones that were walking distance from my home and hence I took her along. Of course, she wanted to enroll in all of them, but in the end, I only allowed her to go for the summer camp for two hours a day. Let me tell you, she wasn’t happy.
The reason I did this was very clear to me – my daughter is 5 now, and the moment her school will re-open, she’ll be back to her grinding days from Monday to Friday. She leaves in her school bus sharp at 8:30 in the morning and reaches home only by 4:30 pm – neat 8 hours! I still don’t understand how a 5-year-old is supposed to clock such grueling hours, but that’s how it is, even though the school is just 20 minutes away by car.
School reopening will also mean she gets back to the two hobby classes she regularly goes to, and that again takes up 4 days of the week. I always believe that kids should be given as much free play time as possible, and not be locked up in classes after classes – the two classes she goes to are ones that she absolutely enjoys and wants to go to.
So, even though my daughter was pretty much home the entire vacation, there was lots and lots that she did and learned – reading, lots of it in fact, and now she is happily devouring new Enid Blyton books by the hour. We did make quite a few trips to the book stores and spent lovely hours there. She did a lot of play acting and puppet shows with her dolls and toys.
She got time to go for walks with me and also to indulge in lots of free play and physical activities that weren’t pre-planned. She got lots of time to satisfy her creative side, making posters and paintings and doing lots of arts and crafts. All in all, even though I didn’t really enroll her in multiple summer classes, I let her have all the artistic and educational initiative that I know she loves and I know that will help her in future, in school as well as in life.
She slept till late in the morning, played whenever she wanted, ate at random hours, and yes, I let her indulge and leave the schedule and routine to the winds! For that’s what the vacations are all about, leaving routine and enjoying. After all, it’s already time that she gets back to her routine now, so what the heck!