It’s almost end of May, half way through the summer vacations and I’ve learnt my lesson “I will not send my kid to summer camp anymore,” maybe from next month onwards itself and forever if I can.

Why you might ask…summer camps are good everybody says. It’s a class where they can let their creative juices flow, the best way of letting your kids spend their summer days I was told. Well, I have discovered why it is good to let your child get bored for a change. When he/she gets bored they come up with the most creative ways of spending their time. Boredom proves to be a stimulus; it can help children discover what interests them the most, or not.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • It is good to let your child get bored for a change during summer vacations, instead of sending them to summer camps.
  • Parents decided which summer camp the kids go to, while teachers decide what activities they will participate in.
  •  Where is the scope for initiative by the kids in this process?
  • Being bored is also a way to make our kids self-reliant.

Boredom proves to be a stimulus; it can help children discover what interests them the most, or not.

I believe child development experts and psychologists when they explain that we should not over-schedule our kids during the summer, as it is unnecessary and could keep kids from discovering what truly interests them. Why is this necessary? Let me explain, our role as parents is to prepare our children to take their place in society. As adults we fill up our leisure time with things that will make us happy, so if as parents we spend all our time filling up our child’s spare time, then our kids will never learn to do this for themselves.

Kids during summer vacations
Kids during summer vacations

Recently, my seven-year-old ‘when she was bored obviously’ went into the kitchen, brought dough and made tiny pots and pans, coloured them and laid out a table for her imaginary friends in the garden. The next day she made a pizza from the chappati base and was thrilled. On another day she had different concoctions of various colours in vessels of all sizes trying to figure out how to make ‘slime’, her latest obsession by the way. I had bought her a kit of how to make slime but refused to get her another, so she said “I will make slime on my own, you’ll see.” She was clearly disappointed in me but I smiled in glee, secretly of course, that at least she is spending her time in self-discovery.

For 10 months approximately our kids go to school and are imprisoned in a routine. Where they are told what to study, how to study, how much grade is good grade, their sports and recreation time is also monitored in school. Not much creativity there, eh!

After she comes back from her summer camp-a class where she reads, draws, describes the characters of the story she had to read (something I chose for her), when I enter her room in the afternoons, there are colourful paper cuttings all over, some are invitation cards, some are tickets for her friends to ‘her’ show, which she enacts. The cards and invitations are very detailed which I am delighted to see. Somebody gave her a sand castle making kit as gift, we don’t have the sea anywhere near us, so didn’t understand that, but never mind, one morning I see her sitting on the ground making mud castles instead, her hands and feet all covered in mud. I happily clicked pictures of her and her castle. Again, playing with mud is what I would recommend, why that’s another story.

The point is we as parents decide which summer camps our kids will go to. The teachers in the camps decide which art to take up or which story to read. Where is the scope for initiative by the kids? For 10 months approximately our kids go to school and are imprisoned in a routine. Where they are told what to study, how to study, how much grade is good grade, their sports and recreation time is also monitored in school. Not much creativity there, eh!

Let them be themselves, let them get bored; let’s see what they come up in their boredom?

Here’s a suggestion, before summer holidays why don’t we as parents sit down with our kids and make a list of to-do things, less from our side more from theirs, like playing cards, reading a book, or going for a bicycle ride. Or you can list elaborate activities like cooking a fancy dinner, putting on a play or practicing photography, something they can do at home or from home, no classes. And if, during the vacation, they come up to you saying they are bored, you can show them the list.

I truly believe kids need to learn how to be bored in order to motivate themselves to get things done. Being bored will be a way to make our kids self-reliant.

So, the two months (now one-and-a-half month in most schools) that they get as summer vacations, why not set them free? Let them be themselves, let them get bored; let’s see what they come up with in their boredom?

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Smita Singh is an editor with SheThePeople.TV team. The views expressed are her own.

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