As summer rolls in, we adults can’t help but reminisce about our own childhood summers. As a career counsellor, I am often jolted out of my memories with the realisation that things have changed drastically since I was a child…and not necessarily for the better.
Like all children, I looked forward to excessive (and untimely) sleeping coupled with a two to three week vacation sometimes. I still remember how I LOVED doing nothing when summer vacation began but eventually got bored enough to actually look forward to going back to school! In comparison, my own children seem to have incredibly high-strung lives and this holds even more true when they are ‘on vacation’, so to say.
What’s worse is that as parents we often don’t even see how far we are pushing our children and how much we end up exerting them without giving them a much-needed break – a fact I myself realised very recently after moving to another city. Too out of my element to automatically immerse myself (and thus, my children) in the usual cat-and-mouse (read RAT) race, I was forced to take a long and hard look at how quick we are to scramble rather than relax (and let them relax too!)
Our search for summer camps begins well before summer officially arrives and to top it off one activity is NEVER enough!
“Art and football or football and science camp?”
WhatsApp groups are ‘ting-ting-tinging’ with harried mothers trying to make this ‘life-or-death’ decision it seems!
Fortunately (or not?), I intend to head for my hometown the second my kids and I get off from school which leaves me with next to no options to align with summer camp dates. But is that really so bad? While scheduling my dates off from work with my boss, it hit me…it isn’t ONLY our kids who need time off; we need it too! As a new employee, I don’t get paid leave as yet but I still intended to take time off until school officially re-opened and didn’t even think of it as an anomaly till I saw my boss’ shocked expression at my WANTING to actually take off ALL the time that I had off!
Is it really so unheard of to just chill?
So, my advice to you – try being a rebel this summer…take a step back and re-evaluate your lifestyle choices. And before you bear down on me with the ‘kids need routine and constructive activities’ argument, PLEASE understand that I’m not saying ‘No’ to ALL extracurriculars and activities. But I am saying ‘No’ to OVER-activity.
Give your kids a break, at least for SOME of the break and take one yourself too!
Isn’t it enough that we spend EVERY DAY throughout the school year carting them from home to school to activities to after-school rehearsals to playdates?! Instead of following the same exhausting routine in summer, try and find things to do together at home – blow up an inflatable pool or get them water guns and have them spend all day outside cooling off in this terrible heat! Heck, you could join in too! Or enrol together in an activity you’ve been meaning to pursue yourself like art or swimming. Or, take a leap of faith…and do nothing at all! Sounds novel, doesn’t it?
Be a trendsetter this summer…and just spend summer chilling with your kids!