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Summer Parenting: When The Heat Is On ! March 1, 2013

Posted by Shahir in Life.
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Summer Holidays! Most parents are equally puzzled and excited too when faced with engaging their children productively during summer holidays! Sensing the opportunity, the trainers and others alike in the city pull their sleeves to organize various summer camps and parents rush to enroll them in the pretext of character development, though in some cases it’s just an outsourced parenting!

 

While summer camps are indeed a good platform for children to develop a holistic approach towards life if organized well with an appropriate ratio of facilitators and participants, there are many activities parents can think of and drive at home too, which will also enrich their bonding. Just as in the corporate world you adjust the operation to the climatic changes of the market, it is inevitable that we see this ‘summer holidays’ as a climatic change at home and adjust our parenting style according to its demands.

 

Who wouldn’t want a bicycle, or a teddy bear, or a ticket to an IPL match? Motivating children to work towards an incentive is perhaps one of the first steps in engaging them in productive activities that will reshape them. Naturally, incentives that ‘you’ offer them may be less valued than the incentives that you agree after a discussion ‘with them’ for what they value most. Making them feel they are the winners is by itself a motivator.

 

The incentive will turn out to be an investment if the child indeed qualifies and earn his reward, for, in the process of earning that incentive during this period, the child would have registered in his subconscious mind many habits that will at some point in his life serve him good. Once you have set up an incentive that you know the child would jump at, we then set some goals with clear milestones. Imagine a big chart put up on the wall that highlights the different goals in colour, the weekly milestones that you and the child together will discuss on a daily basis! It is an opportunity to celebrate little successes every time they are getting closer to their milestones, and an opportunity to visually coach and guide when he is falling short. The child may not correct immediately, nonetheless, the achievements and shortfalls are inevitably registered in his subconscious mind and it will process on its own over a period of time.

 

In setting goals, it is important that the children are involved fully, and as parents our role is to guide, and bring to their conscious surface the kind of goals that you are expecting – subtly aimed at the areas you know he needs improvement. Is it discipline, is it time management, is it ability to talk to visitors at home – you decide. It must be clear to the child that this project is not an option and this is how the summer will be, however there could be a basket of options of activities they could choose from, or of their own if you are convinced it could yield results. The discussions on the project should not be sidelined to a marginal conversation over dinner or in between attending your business calls or reading newspaper, and must be a meeting as important as the meeting you chaired your office on the twenty-second floor with the CEO. It has to be a conscious discussion.

 

These activities doesn’t have to be big and glamorous; it could be a few action metaphors that would imbibe in him certain qualities and values qualifying for a score for each activity, as simple as assigning him duty to fold his blanket every morning, stacking away the newspapers and magazines in its designated areas, so on and so forth. Get them write a Summer Diary – a journal to document their activities in summer, or the least, have them write the qualities they observed in the IPL players they are closely following. Have them learn ‘shloka’s or verses from your holy books connecting with spiritual values and write how it relates to their friends or neighbourhood, as enthusiastic as you were to send him for guitar classes!

 

While summer camps may teach him to swim well in a pool, these camps that you organize at home will help him swim through the tides of life.

 

Shahir

First published on 14 April 2012

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