By Njambi Mungai
On my way home from work, I was unfortunate enough to walk with the village chatterbox. This lady can talk about anything under the sun but mostly she likes to focus on everything under people’s roofs. She does not disappoint. `` Now why did they scrap off holiday tuition? What are we supposed to do with the kids for all those weeks?”
This is not a nanny who is being forced to take care of someone’s child; she has 2 of her own. She goes ahead to whine about how expensive it will be having them around, keeping an eye on them and how noisy they are. But these kids are ours… ‘Our very own blood.’ They are what people look forward to in the society; they are considered blessings from heaven. Of course they don’t consider the constant diaper changes, colicky and sleepless nights.
They forget the tantrums that those little rascals can throw in a supermarket and you have to cave in to the child’s demands if only to escape the disapproving stares coming your way from folks who pretend they have the whole placating method down pat. They are as annoying as they are cute.
Then again the angels grow up so fast and within no time, your little one is pattering down the steps joyously or being dragged kicking and screaming to day one of school. With the current system of schools requiring an 8 year old to be in class by 6:30am and leave at 5.00pm, you are lucky to have any time with your children. When the kids come home, they are exhausted with 'more work, less play' policy and they still have mountains of homework to go through. Their way of relaxing is staring at a TV screen, Computer screen or on their phones.
Of course we would love to hang out with them and tell them fireside stories but we are so exhausted by the projects going on at work. The work schedules are absolutely taking a toll and we just want to relax and take a break. Some of us are even pursuing studies in one field or the other….So we get home, give the children and spouse a kiss before settling into the couch to read or go to the study to continue with work.
We have no idea what is going on in our kids’ lives, who they are hanging out with or who they are texting and chatting with. As long as they are fed, clothed and educated, we assume we have done our part in parenting. Understandably so, the current pace of life has given us little time to bond with our babies. So why then are we irritated by the fact that they will be home with us for a few weeks?
These children have been studying longer shifts than the parents and they have to bring the homework to work on sometimes till midnight. The bags they carry around are almost 10Kgs which is a third heavy in comparison to their tiny bodies. They have to deal with the stresses of school including bullying and taunting as well as some teachers who are hell bent on getting a good grade no matter the means. And yet, the one time they get a few weeks to relax and not think about all that, the parents would prefer them back in school.
This is the perfect time to learn your child, how they are doing, who they hang-out with. Ladies, go shopping with your girls.They like feeling grown up. Talk to them about boys and how they should handle themselves around them. Men, build something with your boys. You can take your older kids to your business and show them the ropes. They appreciate that you hold them in high regard and treat them like an adult.
This is the best time to talk sex education to your teens. Long are the days when many teens would be virgins till after high school. Unfortunately today kids as young as 12 are sexually active. You need to give them the “Birds and Bees talk”. Those without the heart or words to do that can thank the people who organize sex education workshops during the holidays.
Learn your children's talent and use this time to help them develop it. If its soccer, enroll them in soccer program for the holidays. If they like musical instruments, look for a place where they can build their talent. You can even send them to camps where they meet different people and improve their social skills and learn new things.
While many parents see these holidays as a time when their children get in trouble, they could also choose to see it as a blessing. A time when their babies come home to roost, a time when they can have some positive influence to their kids and a time when they can be parents again. So go hug your children, kiss them and tell them you are glad their home.