Holiday dilemma for parents

For parents, it’s a constant worry. During exams, they try their best to keep their school-going children stress-free. On the other hand, they don’t know how to keep them engaged during holidays.
These concerns stem from the fact that children tend to get a little more adventurous when they have free time. They try to “explore” things, which could expose them to risks.
“Children getting adventurous and trying daredevil stunts could endanger their lives,” said a clinical psychiatrist in Ruwi.
When peer groups get together, the individual and collective inclination towards danger is high. “Chances are they might hurt themselves as well as others,” according to him.
Hence the need for safer places for children to “use their holidays productively”. “They could learn a skill or two and become more creative,” some parents felt. It could be learning a new language, joining music/guitar class or improving soft skills.
Using the holiday time for children’s good and contributing to their overall development tops the agenda of most parents.
“It is difficult to find a suitable place or activity centre to enrol children during holidays as we often fail to ascertain their authenticity,” says Lamis, the mother of two primary school children.
She is worried her child would try to imitate her favourite cartoon characters who do supernatural things on screen.
Uthman and Ayisha, parents of an eight-year-old girl, wonder if they can go to work when their daughter’s school remains closed for two weeks.
“We live in Wattayah and we don’t know we can help our daughter have a productive vacation. There are many ‘day care’ centres inviting us to enrol our daughter, but we are still not sure if they are genuine,” said the couple. “We are still discussing with our friends.”
Verifying their authenticity isn’t easy, they said.
Mohammed Tahir, children’s personality trainer and motivational speaker, on the other hand, feels “children should never be allowed to play with strangers or kids whom their parents do not know”.
“Children should not be allowed to venture into swimming pools or take part in a sport without adult supervision,” he says.
According to him, parents should plan how their children should spend their free time, be it learning a new skill or language or making new friends. “Whiling away time can make them try things that might expose them to danger.”
Mini Padikkal, a clinical nutritionist and family dietician, says parents should make sure they don’t impose new rules on their children and burden them after the long school days. “Instead, children should be made to feel they are enjoying their holidays.”