Let us take a walk down memory lane, just for a minute …
If you are like me who had an eventful childhood, then I am sure school holidays always make you nostalgic. For me they meant that I would sleep in late, wake up to Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones or Ed, Edd and Eddy… and then I would spend the better part of the day playing all sorts of crazy games with other kids in the estate. By crazy I mean literally crazy – in fact I remember this one time my cousin and I conducted a burial ceremony for a housefly (we even put it in a match box first). When evening came, it was a never-ending battle because it was time to go home and shower, or eat … two things that don’t go well with children, especially those on holiday!
Back then, the longest holiday was just about 7 weeks (correct me if I am wrong). However, with the developments in the Kenyan education system, currently the December holiday is what, 9 to 10 weeks? 10 weeks! If you do the math it means that when a child is in primary school, 70 weeks (almost 1.5 years) of their time is spent on December holidays alone.
Now if you ask me, that’s a pretty long time. Too long to be spent watching cartoons and burying houseflies. Times have changed, and with them, the how and when of learning. Therefore, it is imperative that we ensure we make the most out of the school holidays, especially the long December break. But how?
Here few practical (and budget friendly) tips on how you can make the most out of this holiday:
First, sign up! You need to sign up for something… It can be anything from as simple as VBS at your local church to learning how to code with Digikids. Take advantage and use this time to help your kids grow and develop a skill that they are not taught in school.Sign them up for a music class and let them learn how to play an instrument, learn a new sport, a new language, volunteer in a children’s home, do bible study, or even go for a kids leadership boot camp.
Second, maximise on family time. I know… it might be tempting to ship them off to upcountry or to other relatives. While it may be good for them to get this experience (because I believe it is important for them to learn how to live with others) let us do it in moderation. Additionally, if you can schedule your annual leave to coincide with the school holidays, do it! Purpose to do a family activity with the kids every day … go for evening walks, watch a nice family movie, make a meal together, read them a story, go for picnics …. Just do something. Develop a holiday tradition that the kids will love and always look forward to.
And finally, moderate activities and get a routine. Perhaps this sounds pretty obvious and easy – but it isn’t always. When kids are on holiday, it’s important for them to understand when to do what and for how long. It is great for them to enjoy PlayStation, but is it all they do all day? Or do they play out with other children all day? While doing all these things are important, we need to establish and communicate clear schedules/limits. For example, how many hours do they have to play PS in a day? When can they go out to play? When do they have to be back home? Ensuring that the kids clearly understand this is imperative.
In a nutshell, whatever you do, use this time to instil in them values that are important to you. Teach them how to look after themselves – whether 3 years or 13 years. Something as simple as clearing the table after a meal or even washing dishes will go a long way in teaching them about being responsible. You can actually try coming up with this schedule/rules together with them, and you will be surprised at how receptive they will be.
I hope these few tips can help you make this long dreadful holiday a productive one that both you and the kids will always look forward to all year. I challenge you to do things differently this time and make it a December to Remember!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
PS: Spread some good cheer and remember the reason for the season – The birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour.