By Arunprasad Durairaj
Summer vacation ideas for kids: Summer vacations are here, and all you parents might have started fretting over the idea of seeing your children either sitting in front of the TV or playing online games all day long. After all, access to mobile phones and other digital screens are making kids gadget addicts from an early age. Even doctors say that spending long screen hours are increasingly showing signs of postural defects, emotional disinterest, and vulnerability towards mental illness.
Instead of blaming television and gadgets, it is better to look for alternative options to keep children engaged during the holiday season. With dwindling play areas, increasing threat of security in leaving kids alone outside and lack of time with both parents working, keeping children engaged with fun-filled activities indoors is the best thing parents can do for early childhood learning.
In today’s fast-paced world, children should be kept busy and encouraged to do something innovative, creative and out-of-the-box. Playing is the best way to help them learn and beat boredom in the absence of highly engaging environments created by televisions, mobile phones and tablets. Here is how parents can encourage their children to find alternatives to screen time when they’re bored, even after the summer vacations are over.
Tap their talent and let them be creative
It is important for parents to figure out the creative inclinations of their children and make sure they have relevant avenues to express themselves. If they like art and craft, give them access to all the relevant materials. If they love sports like swimming and tennis or love to play the guitar or violin, enroll them in relevant classes.
Give them responsibilities at home
Kids love to act like grownups and do their stuff, which clearly indicates that they enjoy taking on responsibilities. So why not include them in some household chores like sweeping, cleaning their rooms, making their beds, and more? While this may sound mundane for developing their brains, such responsibilities can help in their early development. For instance, cleaning the house can help your children in gauging the idea of helping others and staying organised. Moreover, letting them do the gardening and growing plants and vegetables like tomatoes, chillies, strawberries, etc. can also give them the satisfaction of having produced something. Studies have proved that gardening improves focus and encourages kids to eat healthier.
Engage them in writing their thoughts
Every child carries an innate ability to think creatively and out-of-the-box. Parents can encourage them to pen down their creative thoughts as part of a daily journal. It can either be about an entire day, a movie they recently watched or recollecting a family trip. A colourful journal beautifully decorated with pictures or a curated collection of stamps or newspaper clippings, etc, can help them unleash their creative boundaries and may even turn them into future bloggers at a young age.
Let them participate in volunteer work
Your children might be brilliant students, but they should become good human beings too. Involve your child in several volunteer works based on their age; it can even be a cleanliness drive or spending a day at an old age home. It’s the best age to teach them empathy and compassion.
Introduce them to fun-filled activity boxes
Activity boxes combine learning with fun-filled and interesting games, puzzles and books to teach kids concepts over a period and keep them engaged meaningfully at home. Filled with activities designed specifically to engage children, these boxes not just help ensure that your child stays off screen, but also aid his/her personal development. Subscription-based activity boxes have been designed in accordance with a child’s developmental milestones that help them in building essential life skills such as academic, problem-solving, logical reasoning, etc. These activity boxes help the children to nurture their creativity and imagination through art explorations, cooperative games and challenging tasks. This further helps them in developing interests, confidence, a sense of achievement and leadership qualities for personal growth and development. Moreover, the creators of these boxes have compiled them in such a way that children will get their required share of fun, and excitement and would automatically start thinking creatively when they are bored the next time.
It may not be easy for the parents to ban their children completely from watching TV or playing games on their phones in one shot. However, they can induce gradual changes by cutting down a few screen hours and introduce the above-mentioned activities to their schedule. While the kids might throw tantrums initially for setting rules over their screen time, stay calm and keep reminding them about the importance of these limits. Show your children the fun that awaits outside of screen time in a way that they will choose the activity over screen time. Remember that it all happens gradually, so give your children some time to understand themselves and emerge as the best versions of themselves.
(The writer is CEO & Co-Founder, Flintobox.)