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Keeping Your Children Busy During The Long Holidays.

By Alison Kabaara Kiriinya

The long-awaited November and December holidays are finally here with us. The children are excited about sleeping, resting, watching TV and eating. Parents are however at a loss as to how to keep their kids busy. How do you keep them occupied and out of mischief for two months?
Below are a few tips on how to manage this extended holiday period.

Come up with a program for your children.
A simple program outlines what to do at specific times. Remember, kids love predictability. Sit down with your children and decide what is important. Set aside time for revision, play, TV, and chores. Older children can make their own programs. Sit down with your kids every evening and do a review of the day. 

Learning to stick to a program is the first lesson in time management, a critical skill that our children will need when they are older.

Holiday Camps
There are several holiday camps around for children of all ages. These camps offer classes in cookery, gardening, music, drama, art and crafts. Some schools are also offering sports camps.

For the older children, some camps focus on preparing them for high school. Rites of passage camps are also very popular this season. Churches also offer Bible camps.

Make sure you get the details of the camp that you choose. Is it well organized? Are the charges reasonable? How will your kids get home after the sessions? What age groups does the camp cater for? Are there snacks provided?

Discuss the details of the holiday camp with your children, so that they know what it involves. Ask them what new skill they would like to learn. That way they are more likely to enjoy themselves, and you will get value for your money.

Involve your children in household chores
Your kids have grown considerably in the past year. Each one should be able to handle simple household chores. Give each child simple age-appropriate chores to do daily. For example, a 5-year-old boy should be able to make his bed when he wakes up, and help to fold and store clothes. An 8-year- old child can help with washing dishes and cleaning the house. These two months are also a good time to teach your older children to cook and do laundry. Use this long holiday to teach your kids survival skills. They will enjoy learning from you.

As much as our kids are tired of school and anything related to books, a little studying in the first few weeks will not hurt. You can get revision booklets and ask them to do one test paper daily. You can also get storybooks and ask the children to read a chapter or two daily. Reading story books will help to develop your child’s vocabulary and reasoning skills. Good story books are available in local bookshops, supermarkets and from some secondhand dealers.

Time with Extended Family
The grandparents of your children need to spend time with your kids and get to know them better. You also need a little break. Why not send the kids to spend a few days with your parents? They will learn a lot from them and will enjoy being spoilt. They can also go and visit other members of the extended family, or close family friends. The long holiday gives the perfect opportunity for bonding time with family and friends.

Time with Parents and Siblings
Do you ever feel like you rarely get to see your children? This long holiday gives you the opportunity to hang out with them and get to know them better. Take some days off work and spend time with them at home. Show them how to cook, to change a flat tire, to weed the garden, to do simple errands, etc. Take time to talk about school and life issues. Your children will consider that the highlight of their holiday.
Children in boarding schools hardly get to interact with their siblings. This long holiday will give them time to catch up on each other’s lives.
Our children need a break. They have been in school all year. Our current educational system is very demanding and involving. Let them stay at home and relax. After all, within no time they will be back to school again!

Keeping your children busy during holidays does not need to be an expensive affair. Give them the basics – food, shelter, clothing and love, and they will be okay.

I wish you an enjoyable and fruitful holiday!

Our Guest Author is a part-time teacher working in Ruiru and Nairobi, though she lives in Thika.
You can get in touch with Alison via Email address alison.kiriinya@gmail.com.

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