Pupils are now on holiday. Educationists and child care enthusiasts highlight how parents can get their children positively engaged while the holiday lasts.
By Samuel Awoyinfa
The holiday season is here again. For the pupils, it is time to play and relax after the stress of the school year. For them, it’s a period they can enjoy their sleep without mummies coming to wake them up early. For some parents, too, it’s a temporary relief from the hassles of school runs.
However, the holiday season comes with its challenges, especially for working class parents who live in urban centres. Many parents in this category will now be battling with the challenge of how to monitor their children while they are away at work. Some would be thinking of how to gainfully engage them.
For some smart Nigerians, including school owners, it’s time to make some money by organising summer school and skills acquisition schemes. These, however, come at a cost which the parents must bear.
Experts say in spite of this, parents must ensure that their children are engaged meaningfully. Otherwise, they could use the period for destructive venture because, as the saying goes, the devil finds work for the idle hand.
In order to keep them busy during this period, many parents have fashioned out positive ways to keep their children out of mischief and trouble while the holiday lasts.
Educationists and parents say pupils must first be taught how to maintain a balance between recreation and academic activities.
An educationist and principal, Global International College, Lekki, Lagos, Mrs. Bisi Olayiwola, says many pupils tend to see the period as a time to relax after a hectic academic exercise, but she warns that such pupils must realise that being on holiday is not tantamount to completing one’s academic programmes.
She advocates a balancing act between recreational pursuits and academic exercise. According to her, pupils can also visit their cousins, aunties, grandparents and even recreational and historical spots.
She says, “This long holiday is normally seen by many pupils as a time for relaxation. They believe they have had a stressful time in the school, reading and sitting for their promotional examinations. Also, it is not out of place for them to relax and visit some places of interest like the zoo, amusement parks, the National Theatre and Badagry to see the first storey building in Nigeria or even visit grandparents, aunties, and cousins.
However, “They must not forget that there are summer programmes, which focus on either academic or skill acquisition programmes or both. Pupils should keep busy by attending the remedial ones to work on those subjects where they are having challenges, while those who want to acquire skills in bead making, barbing, hair dressing and fashion design, among others, can also do so.”
Many parents have already mapped out how to keep their children engaged along this line of thought.
A civil servant, Mrs. Bola Ajao, says her three children are already set for summer camp from next week.
But she explains that her second child, a girl, will be updating her skills in hairdressing, in addition to attending the summer camp.
She states, “My daughter, who’s the second child, apart from attending the summer camp, will also update her skills in hairdressing during this long holiday. She’s already in SS2, and I have enrolled her for the hair dressing session in a beauty salon.
“Definitely, I need to keep them engaged since I cannot be carrying them to the office every day.”
Also, Mrs. Christie Ajieh says she has a mixed bag of leisure and study for her two children, who are both in primary school. She explains that she will be taking them to Port Harcourt to spend some time with their father, who works in the Garden City.
Her children, she says, will also attend a summer camp, not in their school but elsewhere so that they can make new friends and have new experience.
She adds, “It is good to give them a new experience and exposure, and that is why I will enroll them for summer camp in a different school. Besides, I have discovered that my daughter loves reading; I am going to encourage her by buying her more story books to engage her.
“Then, for her younger brother, I need to moderate his love for cartoons. He loves the cartoon series a lot. I need to regulate this during this period and make him concentrate more on his studies, though he is still in unior class.”