Summer break is just around the corner yet vacation plans with the kids remain cancelled. With the likelihood of them being cooped up at home remaining high, parents are dreading months spent with kids whining about having nothing to do.
As early as now, parents should open this discussion about the summer break with the children. That way you can plan accordingly and create excitement for the kids. What goes into the planning? Edmarie Querubin, Higher Grades coordinator of The Raya School recommends "Factor in screen time, physical activities, bonding with family members, and activities that can develop their skill in being responsible. Do include rest and sleep. Remember to give them choices and freedom. It should be decided by the parent, the child and other household members."
Fear not the "new normal" summer! Here's a list of activities for your consideration:
Unleash The Little Entrepreneur
Give your child the opportunity to flex their business acumen: have them manage a small backyard or online business. Parents and guardians can take care of the frontline, getting merchandise or buying raw materials. The kids can take care of the production end and counting daily sales.
Having a summer business can be as simple as reselling hard-to-find snacks or making homemade treats. Marketing efforts can be an art activity, as you create posters and signage advertising your wares. Profits made can go into a bank account they can use as a summer allowance, future online purchases and even small investments.
Sous Chef in Training
Involve your children in your daily kitchen duties. Have them help you in simple tasks like meal planning, vegetable sorting or the basics of cutting and peeling. Start off younger children with flameless food prep like making salads, sandwiches or refrigerator cakes. Older kids can be taught favorite family recipes so they can make it for themselves when they start life on their own.
Dedicated Family Game Night
Create friendly competition at home while promoting family bonding in the process. It can be simple card games like "Go Fish" or Pekwa/Fan Tan. It can be sophisticated board games like Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit and their many permutations in the market.
Just remember that win or lose, your fellow players are stuck at home with you so try to keep things cordial. You can also encourage child creativity by having the children create their own board game, a game experience that's uniquely your family's!
Get Them Into Reading
A summer like this one is a great time to inculcate the reading habit in kids. Have your child choose a book they'd like to read for pleasure. Younger children can benefit in a bedtime story session with you. If you have older kids, you can take turns reading a conventional book, manga, or a graphic novel of their choice. The aim here is to do it for pleasure and stimulate some conversation with your child.
Redecorate Their Learning Space
Now that school is over, your kids finally have time to clean up and organize their learning nook. Go over their online learning experience together and try to find out what worked and what didn't.
Does she need more desk space for writing? Does she need an extra table for her snacks? Does she register too dark on the webcam and need extra lighting? Does the space need to reflect your child's personality? Try to determine what their needs are so they can have a better experience when a new academic year begins.
Arrange virtual playdates/meetups with friends and family
With social distancing rules set to be around for quite some time, it is sensible to organize meetups with friends and family without meeting in person. Thank God for technology that allows us to do that virtually. Using Zoom, Hangouts or Skype, organize a focused group activity with school buddies or cousins like a craft session or prepping a fun lunch together.
Keep the screen time to a minimum so they don't max out their limits. Ms. Querubin recommends 3 hours total screen time limit daily.
Have A Go At Gardening
Home gardening bug got you? Share the pleasure of your new hobby with your kids! Keep them occupied by taking care of any of your already existing plants or have them grow food from vegetable scraps like seeds and cuttings. It's a hands-on lesson in biology and horticulture that they can take to adulthood. If your kid turns out to be gifted with a green thumb, your family could save money on fresh produce!
Do Stay Updated With the Latest “New Normal” Rules
The present situation is fluid and rules keep changing every month so keep yourself informed with the latest developments on who's allowed to go out. Some cities even have designated open spaces for the public that allow minors and seniors some much-needed outdoor movement. When you do have that opportunity to get the kids out, just remember to social distance and mask-up.
Working around “Work From Home”
Most working parents still operate on a work from home setup these days. How can they accommodate these activities for their children? Ms. Querubin recommends setting a schedule.
"Talk to your child about it. Let them observe you. How you work, and then talk to them after. Both you and your child can think of activities that will be fit with your schedule and situation", she adds. "Give your child the attention and time she deserves after work hours. That way the child will think and feel that there is time for him and that he is valued."
About The Writer
Minnette is an experienced writer in entertainment, celebrity publicity, and social media.
As a freelance writer, her work has been published in Smart Parenting, FHM, Cosmopolitan Philippines, and Preview Magazine; her extensive coverage often centers around showbiz, parenting, and food; and their interesting convergence in between.
A graduate of Ateneo de Manila University and mother to one kid and two cats, Minnette can often be found in the kitchen playing with food.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.