Well, I am sure they are not suffering as much as you do paying for them. However, keep in mind that kids have been through months of schooling and institutional programs and they may not perceive the nice summer camp as a fun thing. Why am I writing about this? Well, for one I used to be a kid and secondly I have kids who keep complaining that they need more time at home and to do things their own way. Think about it, they could be making sense. Let’s take a look at whether it makes sense to have our kids engaged in group programs year long.
Children love to play with other children, that is a proven fact. When you place them in a summer camp or daily programs involving activities during the summer, they may love it at the start. However, they can quickly get bored and tired of the environment and program. A few different factors could be at play here. They miss their school friends, they are meeting new people (remember how you felt when you joined a new class or program and knew nobody there?), the environment and surrounding is new to them and they want to spend time playing with their siblings among other things.
Also, keep in mind that such programs may appeal to us grown ups as playful and fun, kids may find them extremely structured and contrary to their playing habits and self-direction. Kids find it boring when an adult tells them how to play or whom to play with. Children love to use their imagination and self-direction to keep themselves busy. You may have noticed that sometimes they find daily household objects more playful than pricey toys that you may have purchased for them with the intention that they would be playing happy wheels with them day and night.
According to an article titled The Play Deficit by Peter Gray, Psychologist and Research Professor at Boston College, we should support the idea of giving children the freedom to play on their own. He writes, “I don’t expect to convince most people, any time soon, that we should abolish schools as we know them today and replace them with centres for self-directed play and exploration. But I do think there is a chance of convincing most people that play outside of school is important. We have already taken too much of that away; we must not take away any more.”
It only makes sense to have let our kids have fun during the summer, after all they deserve it after a year’s worth of hard work. Some ideas for the summer include vacation trips, playdates with their school friends, exploring your neighborhood and simple things that kids love to do. Talk to your child, ask them about what they wish to do during the summer, make a list and follow through. It is not hard or expensive and most importantly your kids will enjoy and feel refreshed when they return to school at the end of the summer.
If you are planning to work full time and need to make use of summer programs as child care, that is a different story. A lot of people don’t have support at home or from family to look after their kids when they are off from school during summer and that is totally understandable. However, remember that your children need to have fun during the summer, perhaps it is worth taking time off from work and doing things that both you and your child love.
What are your thoughts or plans? Feel free to share with us below.