Holiday Season: Creating Unforgettable Memories For Children
Children, who are still in their formative years, learn a lot from visiting new places and interacting with people from different backgrounds. During this season, normal activities, especially school, business or work, are suspended or reduced.
The idea is for students to take a rest from schoolwork, and avail themselves the opportunities to engage in recreational activities. School children are thus given a break from the stress and rigours of school academic. Many children look forward to this time, as they are able to enjoy their sleep without mummies coming to wake them up early to go to school. For many parents also, the holiday season, though a temporary one affords some respite from the hassles of daily school runs.
However, the season comes with its challenges, especially for working parents that live in cosmopolitan cities such as Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Parents in this category are confronted primarily with the challenge of what to do with their children, where to take them, how to monitor them, care for them and supervise them now that they are at home, while they are away at work. They fret over how to gainfully engage them.
To make the most of this period, educationists and parents say pupils must first be taught how to achieve a balance between recreation and academic activities.
Biodun Kayode, a schoolteacher and youth pastor, Foursquare Gospel Church, Ojokoro, Lagos, spoke on the benefits of the holiday season to children and parents alike.
“Holidays are good because some children have discovered their talents while on vacation. Many parents would love to embark on family adventures and spend quality time with their kids, besides the traditional travelling to the village with the whole family by the end of the year. However, they have little idea of the amazing family vacation destinations in Nigeria,” he says.
Kayode explains that parents can take advantage of the holiday period to travel to or explore fun creational places.
“It is good to give children a surprise or new experiences and exposures, which is why it is good to enroll them for Summer Camp in schools other than the one they attend. Nothing stops parents from taking time out to visit recreational centres and resorts such as the Obudu Cattle Ranch, Calabar, which is a fantastic resort for family vacation. Such experience provides great fun and bonding for families members.”
Other places of interests Kayode mentioned include Olumo Rock located in Abeokuta, Ogun State, which not only provides a serene environment, but is also good for educational and recreational purposes.
Mrs. Sarah Ejiofor, a businesswoman and mother, says the season should not just be about fun, recreation and relaxation. Children should also be encouraged to read interesting literature and storybooks, as a form of relaxation during the holiday.
“I have discovered that my son loves reading. So, I try to encourage him to read wide by buying him more storybooks to engage him. He also loves watching cartoons. So, I make sure he watches as many as he likes although, I try to moderate his love for cartoons,” she explains.
“Many smart owners of schools and recreational centres cash in on the opportunity to make quick money by organising summer school lessons, holiday camping programmes, excursions, as well as skills acquisition schemes. These, however, come at a cost, which parents readily bear, as they are left with very little choice.”
It has been generally acknowledged, however, that parents need to engage their children and wards in meaningful activities during this time. Otherwise, the period, set aside for positive and constructive purpose, could turn out differently. Children should, therefore, be guided to ensure that they go for useful ventures.
And this is why parents need to be aware of the several alternatives at their proposal to bring about a robust holiday experience to be relished for a long time. Obviously, many parents would have already fashioned out ways to keep their children busy. For some others, however, keeping them out of mischief and trouble, while the holiday lasts is quite a tough task.
Titi Odueso, an educationist and Director, Gapbridge School, Lagos, says the holiday period is an important time for children to relax, recreate, play, and have loads of fun. She advises parents to prioritise their schedules and put the wards first, as the holiday is about the rest and not much academics, though the holiday season should be partly used for completing unfinished academic work and programmes.
“Pupils can visit their cousins, aunties, grandparents and even recreational and historical spots. This long holiday is strictly for their relaxation. You can take them to visit with their uncles and family friends,” she explains.
Aside recreational centres, children can also be taken on excursions to places of interest such as amusement parks, the zoo, museums of arts and culture, National Theatre and Badagry to see the first storey building in Nigeria among others.
“However, they must not forget that there are summer programmes, which focus on either academic or skill acquisition or both. Pupils should keep busy by attending the remedial ones to work on those subjects, where they are having challenges. Those wanting to acquire skills in bead making, barbing, hair dressing and fashion design among others, can also do so,” she says.
Dr. Reuben Madunagu, a child psychologist, says parents can use the holiday period to introduce their children to nature by taking them to some natural habitat.
“For instance, they can be introduced to gardening. Let them plant seeds and watch them grow. That is the only way for them to know that the yam they eat does not grow on trees. They can also learn to see plants in their natural form. Holiday period is one of the best opportunities to give children loads of fun,” he says.
Madunagu, who enjoys working with children, says there are several interesting ways to get children engaged during this holiday.
“Mothers could teach their children how to cook, regardless of sex. The children are encouraged to learn how to prepare some simple African dishes or snacks. You can encourage your children to try out their hands on foods they love. They may not particularly like or enjoy the results, but it is some form of training because such parents are teaching them not just about taste,