So the kids are home on summer break and my husband and I are always struggling with whether to let them just play and have fun or whether they should be ‘productive’. I mean is there such a thing as too much fun during the summer holidays? When I was a child I remember having a lot of free time to do what I wanted. Outside of some activity camps, my parents didn’t really require me to do anything specific. I did enjoy reading so I suppose that was educational, but I was doing it for fun.
In our kids’ generation however, I feel like we are letting our kids fall behind if we don’t enforce some education or skill even during the holidays. Every family I know has their kids in some athletic, academic, or creative classes during the summer. In addition, they are expected to do the library reading program or at least some workbooks. I guess it makes sense that they might forget if they don’t keep up with what they learned during the school year. But the summer is also a time for freedom, creativity and fun. I mean we want our kids to enjoy their childhood as well. They have the rest of their lives for structure and stress and no summer break. So where is the balance?
It seems like there is so much more competition for these kids and succeeding means doing a lot more than the school requirements. That’s why I guess parents use the summers to pack in all the swim lessons, sports camps, tutoring, and other skills. Many families have their kids in full-time summer camps as a childcare solution but most of them seem to pick the ones that their kids will ‘get the most out of’. Everyone is very concerned with how productive the children will be and what they will learn. Pure play camps seem to be a thing of the past. Is that a good thing or is it sad for the kids?
I am guilty of all of this as well even though I sometimes think it is too much and then I back off. My kids have been doing camps on making movies, making video games, and chess. These are all things they enjoy so they are happy to do them but my motives were not so fun. I saw the potential for IT skills, creativity and strategic thinking. Though I do believe free play time also fosters creativity so I am happy for them to have play time or go run around outside. It is just a bit sad that I think of the positive effects of going out to play rather than just thinking of it as something kids can and should do for fun. I’m trying to stay balanced and not be a total tiger mom but our society sometimes makes that hard. Okay off to have some summer fun with my boys….