What to do with your child in the summer

We compete regarding our child’s education and are willing to spend preposterous amount of money to stand above all.

Sana Waqas July 19, 2012
Summer brings with it the pleasant news of no school. This is surely a relief to many parents as there is no more waking up early in the morning, getting  children ready for school, dropping them off and picking them up.

However, is this really a time to give your wallet and yourself a break?

It’s hard to keep a toddler entertained and I have learned that the school routine gives mothers a chance to think beyond their typical household work and provides a much-needed break from monotonous chores.

So what do you do in the summer?

Cue summer camps! Even before the onset of summer vacations, mothers start discussing where they will be enrolling their children during the summer holidays.

Apart from keeping children busy, summer camps have the following advantages:

  • They provide children with new, enjoyable activities such as swimming, music, martial arts, painting and so on.

  • By enrolling your children in a summer camp, there is an overriding feeling of being content as you can rest assured that your child has made the most out of his vacations and has not spent all summer sleeping and playing video games.

  • In summer camps, your child interacts with other children and makes new friends.

  • For working moms, summer camps are a blessing as they can work peacefully knowing that their children are at a safe place and are engaging in intellectual activities.

  • Registering children in a summer camp also gives parents a topic to show off. Seriously, many parents take much delight in telling others that their child is going to a “particular" summer camp. You might not agree with this but it is gradually becoming a reality.

I have one daughter and I get ample time to fully interact with her, play games with her and teach her something new every day. But during the first week of her summer vacations I started to feel the need for some kind of summer activity for her.

Thus, I started collecting information regarding schools that provided summer camps within the vicinity. I called their information centres and then visited them. Though the classes for younger kids looked very attractive and my daughter seemed very excited to be a part of them, the amount they were asking in return for this service was equally attractive.

I mean think about it, if you are charging Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 for four hours five times a week, isn't that too much keeping in mind that you have just paid the fee for the two months your child will not be attending school? This isn't all. I was astonished to learn that one school was charging above Rs25,000 per month including the membership fee of the school plus the summer programme fee.

Now the question is, why then do we all go gaga over summer camps? Why not sit down and just relax with our kids at home? Do we necessarily have to join this bandwagon?

Sadly, we as parents, are becoming more and more competitive and I include myself in this category too. We don’t want our child to lag behind others in any field. We want them to excel at what kids of their age are excelling at and we want them to never feel inferior. Moreover, we compete amongst our social circle regarding our child’s education and are willing to spend preposterous amount of money to stand above all.

We have let known our weakness to the educational institutions and they have found a way to cash out on it greatly by way of summer camps. I wouldn't blame them for they are just availing an opportunity which we are providing them with.

Recall how proud we as parents feel when somebody compares our kid to another of their age and compliments them by saying:
Your child is not only an extrovert and well-behaved but is also great in extracurricular activities. He is an all-rounder!

Very proud indeed. This feeling is what in actuality all parents are striving to achieve.

However, all of this comes at a price. With the ever-growing expenses in today’s world, I have found a way to bypass summer camps and their exaggerated fees. I have found a solution to this summer holiday problem: Choose an affordable activity.

For instance, tell your child to choose his favourite activity i.e. swimming, music or whatever it is and enrol them in the relevant course during summer and spend the rest of the free time with your child at home in a scheduled manner by planning interesting activities with them in the comfort of your home. Don't forget, you need to keep your pocket comfortable as well, after all there needs to be food put on the table three times a day right?

This way, your child will be engaged in his favourite summer activity and your wallet won't suffer as a consequence. Moreover, you as a parent will also be satisfied and can rightfully say that yes, my child was involved in a prolific summer activity which did good to all of us without leaving us a huge dent in our finances.
Sana Waqas Has completed an MBA in Brand Management and Human Resource from Government College University Lahore. Prior to that, she studied English literature during her undergraduate studies.
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