Every parent must read this!
Summer vacation is here again! Schools are releasing students for the long break. For parents,it will be a relief from normal “school-runs”, waking up Junior to get ready for school or watching out to make sure homework is properly done. But hold on, before you rejoice, it’s a long vacation – two months or thereabout. No parent will like to keep his or her child locked up in the house for such a long time. During this holiday, a lot of activities will take place amongst our children; this article will give you some tips on what you should watch out for to avoid them getting into any form of danger. Secondly, I will identify some activities that will help children enjoy the holidays.
HOME ALONE WITH NEW TECHNOLOGIES
For working parents, children are usually alone in the care of domestic staff or relatives during the holidays. Our children have lots of time at their disposal, and you know what, they hate idleness. New Technologies such as the 24 hours Cable Networks provides many channels for viewing and children have the choice of watching programmes unguarded. It is therefore necessary for parents to put up measures in order to avoid exposing children to programmes that can distort their minds.
If your child has unlimited access to the internet, then you have everything to worry about. Some children in the name of doing research or their homework browse Pornographic website. Several under aged children are signed on to popular Networking sites where they chat and make new friends. I heard one of the popular networking sites was recently hacked, and pornographic pictures are now posted into the pages of individuals. Parents must teach their children on-line safety tips by telling them not to give out their names, home address, school name, home or cell phone numbers to “online friends”. Some of these “faceless friends” could be adults or Paedophiles who want to take advantage of your child’s vulnerability. The consequences of granting children unlimited access to the internet is very severe and recovery from such is usually hard.
Children at this time are also opportune to have the GSM or land phones at their disposal. Parents must curtail the use of this device to avoid exposing their children to callers who may want to get information to perpetrate any act of evil. Instruct your children not to give out personal information to any caller without your prior knowledge.
Have you taken the pain of watching that “3-in-1” DVD you recently bought for your child? Some of these supposedly child friendly DVDs contain X-rated movies. A parent recently shared her experience during a parenting forum; she never knew the Cartoon DVD she bought for her children had two sexually-inclined cartoons. I recently heard over the news that a religious group has plans to introduce cartoons that will teach children how to handle weapons of war. What about the violent video games our children play with? Parents need to be alert because the devil is looking for ways of stealing away the minds of our children.
WATCH THAT SLEEP OVER!
Are you in the attitude of dropping off your child with a friend, relative or neighbour during the holidays? Or you have gladly promised to send off your children for holidays with a relative so as to have a free time for yourself or allow them have a change of environment? Then you have to do such with extra care.
I recently had an encounter with a teenage girl who was purportedly raped by the son of a family friend during one of the holidays last year. She did not have the courage of telling her parents or any one because she was scared of ruining the good relationship both families had built over the years. Unfortunately, she has to bear the scar for the rest of her life. A teenager girl once told me she was scared of going back home for the holidays because her mum usually drops her with a family friend whose older son frequently makes sexual advances at her. In as much as it is fun for our children to spend part of their holiday outside the home, parents must prayerfully take such decisions with caution.
Have you noticed that there are a lot of adverts on summer programmes for children this year? The good thing is that these programmes are not all academic in nature. Instead of having your child stay at home all day long in front of the Television, playing video games etc why not enrol them in any of the summer classes. Gladly, many organizations are organizing classes geared towards improving talents in children. Your child could attend classes in music, dancing, theatre arts, arts & craft, cookery and many more. Attending such classes will improve your child’s knowledge; help develop their social and interpersonal skills. A child’s potential can also be discovered or improved in such programmes. Children instinctively like being around other children, and this allows a great deal of fun along with some education too.
In fact parents may not realize the positive impact of these programmes on their children until much later, so go ahead and enrol your child for that summer class!
A friend over heard her teenage daughter telling her younger brother how anxious she is to get back to school where no one compels her to do any house chores. We had a good laugh over it! For the boarders, they must have forgotten what it is like to have someone telling them to do house chores. Children must be involved in doing house chores during the holidays. Parents can draw up a timetable or routine for cleaning, sweeping, washing the dishes, cooking, throwing the thrash etc.
TRAVELS AND TOURS
Children always look forward to taking a trip with their parents during the long summer break. Parents always love to take their vacation at this time as this affords them the opportunity of bonding with their children. Such travels either outside or within the country should be well- planned to avoid any hitches. Children can visit historical sites and other places of interest where they can have fun.
GET THAT MEDICAL APPOINTMENT
Have you been postponing your child’s medical appointment for some time? This is an opportunity for you to book an appointment for your child to visit the dentist, optician, paediatrician etc.
CREATE A READING TIME/FUN ACTIVITIES
Summer break should not mean taking a break from learning, especially when it comes to reading. Studies show that most students experience a loss of reading skills over the summer months, but children who continue to read actually gain skills. If your children are young, read a story out loud to them at this time. Older children can use this time to read on their own. If you can, try to model the importance of reading by picking a book for yourself at the same time. Parents can engage their children by getting them registered in a book-club or Library. It will also be amusing for younger children to have puzzles and other outdoor games at their disposal.
The holidays should not be all fun, play, academics – parents ought to involve their children in spiritual exercise by feeding them with spiritual food. They can get to learn some memory verses from the Bible. Parents should devote time for the study of the word and prayer with the children. Give them the opportunity to speak out or ask questions during such times. Parents can provide good Christian story and activity books to make learning more interesting and attractive.
Let us help our children enjoy this long vacation as much as possible by engaging them in different activities that will help them develop spiritually, physically, psychologically, academically and emotionally. HAPPY HOLIDAYS
Contributed by Christianah Akindolie (Fate Foundation)
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