The month long first term holiday is here and parents are thinking hard how they can keep their children productively engaged through the time they will be out of school.
It is a big concern especially or working parents who have to leave their children in the hands of house helpers, relatives or by themselves until the evening when they return from their days duties at their workplaces.
To keep their toddlers busy, some parents send children for holiday coaching to prevent them from playing too much and loitering around the community. This period, the Principal of Kampala Parents’ School, Ms Daphine Kato, says needs to be well managed.
She explains that parents need to balance between children’s play time, house work and revision or reading time. “It is not good to concentrate on one,” Ms Kato says.
Put in a balanced time table
She explains that during the term, children concentrate more on reading books therefore doing the same during holiday makes them tired of books by the time they return to school for a new term. “They need to play as well as reading books,”
“So it is very important for parents to have a program, a time table for the children. For example from morning to break, a child can do some house work and then after play or can concentrate on books then play in the afternoon. It needs a balanced time table,”
“The problem is if they don’t read, they will completely switch off and forget. When they return to school, they start from zero. This is why we are saying; let them have a balanced time table that caters for both reading and playing,” she adds.
Visit the village for adventure
Ms Kato says taking children to village for parents who can afford is a good idea as it gives the toddlers a chance to learn about things they only hear in class.
“Taking them to places like in village where they see plants and animals which they just read about in class but have never seen is a good idea. Many of them only see food in supermarkets but when they see how this is harvest is a good practical learning experience,”
“When we talk of an anthill, some of the children can’t even imagine how an anthill looks like; the pit latrine, they are used to flashing toilets. That kind of education is important,” the principal suggested.
Ms Kato advises that children can play football, jump ropes and other games in their compound or play board games in the house without restriction but is important is that they must be monitored.
“Playing should not be restricted but they need to be monitored, to know the kind of friends they have. Parents need to be selective and guard their children against strangers. They must be proper security at home because at school we are very strict,”
House work good for their learning
House work shouldn’t come off as a punishment, Ms Kato says, advising that it children shouldn’t do a lot of it. “When you make children do housework from morning to sunset they grow to hate it. Let them do it with a lot of interest. Let it also be programmed,”
“For example if a child wakes up and cleans the house or washes the utensils, immediately after that one you don’t have to bring in another chore. Let the child relax,”
“Those who can prepare a meal let them prepare it with the help and supervision of a maid or a parent. That is how they will enjoy. If you keep them working the whole day it will turn out to be a punishment.”