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Keeping your child busy over the holidays

Lifestyle
 Boy learning to ride a bicycle with his father in the park. [iStockphoto]

Schools closed over a week ago, and if you have children in lower, and upper grades, and teenagers, you might be experiencing some tsunami in your household.

However, despite the “messy environment” holidays remain a great time to bond with your children, giving you a chance to “reconnect” with your childhood memories, a healthy stance for you. 

Holidays offer parents an opportunity to bond with their child(ren). If your children are toddlers or teenagers, it gives you a chance to recapture your childhood memories as you indulge in your children’s pastime games. 

But it can also be stressful time when kids misbehave because of boredom. It is best to plan ahead of the holidays on the activities that will keep them busy, making their holidays a relaxation and fun time after the school stress from school routines. 

An assortment of activities will help keep the little ones out of mischief. You could start with planning for each week in advance. Experts say that if children know they have things to look forward to, it will keep them out of mischief and make them happier and relaxed. 

Involve children in the planning activity. This way, they are less likely to complain and raise tantrums about activities chosen without their decision and approval. 

According to age, and the children’s interest, having an array of tools will make it easy for the parent-children team to choose games and activities. For example,  as a team, you can pick your home-made games. 

Shop for a supply of coloured cards, children’s scissors, glue, and anything else you may want to make some fun games. Games like Snakes and Ladders can all be easily made at home and will keep the children occupied for some time. 

You can also plan to have interactive cooking and baking time. You could plan for the day the children will cook or bake under your supervision. f supervised cooking and another day for baking. The number of times will depend on the duration of the holidays and other scheduled activities. 

Remember to involve the children in the process from the beginning — let them choose from a selection of recipes you have ingredients for. Depending on the age you could include them for shopping trips. them in the shopping process.

If the child can read, get them to read from the recipe book. Step by step, help them to work through the instructions. Try to avoid the temptation of doing it yourself. 

Gardening

Spare some grounds for a small patch in the garden for the children. If you do not have the space, look for substitutes such as agricultural bags, buckets, washing basins or disposed tyres. 

Plant flowers, herbs, lettuce — anything that quickly grows gives the children the satisfaction of producing something. 

If they are small, (under three years), allow them to play with cooking or gardening using materials and tools, specifically designed for them. Better still, let them wear old clothes, give them a spade and let them loose. 

Also, try a picnic out in the garden, or if you do not have one, check out public spaces that allow you to do picnicking. Engage the children in the preparations involved, and have some of them check and tick the list to ensure you have everything needed.

Engage the children in the preparation of the picnic site and setting the food.  You will be surprised at how much this atmosphere romanticises the most boring meal. 

You can also make a treasure map with clues to find some treasure you have hidden somewhere in the house. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big — any little treat will be exciting when it is found. 

Another activity is jewellery making.

Shop and stock up on beads and let the children make their jewelry. There is also room to do knitting. The two activities can be done with the smallest of children. Be sure to get appropriate bead sizes for different age groups. The children will be so proud to wear the jewellery that they have made. 

Make sure you plan some days where you just relax, watch some movies, read some books, and take it easy. 

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