December 11, 2017

Summer break for kids or breakdown time for parents?

An article by Vinita Kinra (@VinitaKinra)

A girl in the park

Biking fun!

Ah summer! Clear blue skies, golden rays of the sun spilling over bronze bodies lazing on beach towels, and two full months of entertaining kids! Don’t let the latter suck the fizz out of your favourite chilled cocktail, or burn your zeal for a barbecue get-together.

If your kid, or kids — if you are lucky enough to have more than one — are demonstrating to you rather irked on a minute-to-minute basis of how bored they are, or what they want to do next, or where they would like to head out right away, take a deep breath and thank your stars that it’s neither snowing outside, nor the flu season. The trouble on your hands is over-energetic youngsters who have more energy than they can bust at home, unless they are teenage or older, in which case they would not be looking at parents for options to spend their time.

However much busy or preoccupied you may be as parents, view this protracted holiday as a divine opportunity to add to your kids’ skills — enroll them in classes to learn swimming, baking, knitting, or a foreign language — if they are back from summer camp and looking for fun ways to spend their time. This discussion may not be valid if you are cash stripped from the week-long vacation you spent on already, or are dealing with issues of self-esteem for not being able to fit into your swim suit or shorts after the cruel winter left you almost nude by stealing away the protective layers of clothes that loyally concealed your flab.

Children playing in the park

Children playing at a park

The biggest stress about the super summer season that ends before it even begins, is the pressure to make the most of this blessed time of the year before we bundle up again and prepare to hibernate for the long, cold and dark winter. However, kids will love simple outings like going on a bike ride, or visiting the library for a story reading session, and definitely spending time in the nearest park. Don’t fret if you can’t take them to the zoo because you have to get your PowerPoint presentation ready for that important meeting next week, for which you have to do the laundry and stock up groceries. Kids don’t mind if you postpone the planned trip to Wonderland or Centre Island. Have them accompany you to the supermarket or the mall, and they will love you for a little enticement you buy them, or if you chat with them over lunch at the food court.

The key is to spend quality time with your family. It doesn’t have to be fancy restaurants or vacation-specialist-approved destinations. Your kids love YOU, and they understand your commitments. Pile up in the car and head to the nearest beach or lakeshore to enjoy pizza out of the box with a can of pop while you chat with your family under the parasol, or better still, under an umbrageous tree. Remember, family is meant for support, not stress.

Vinita Kinra is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. 

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