Every parent dreads the arrival of Summer – it’s vacation time for kids and a big ordeal for parents to keep them occupied. The sound of the school bus horn never sounded better!
A few parents find summer workshops nearby or ones that arrange transport, to engage their kids in a wide range of activities like painting, dancing, swimming, music, sculpture, pottery, sports etc. These keep them occupied for a few hours each day. Of course the mobile phone, TV serials and social media keep them occupied for the rest of the time.
Three aspects of a child’s personality should be groomed during the vacation.
Discipline : Kids tend to lose this sense that was in place due to exact school timings and all activities being time bound post the school too. So parents should enroll children in programs or join them in the morning for sessions of exercise, yoga and/or games to ensure that the discipline of waking up early (preferably between 5 and 6 AM) and keeping the body fit and supple continues. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) are the best all round exercises to ensure this.
Enthusiasm : If you notice, a 2 year old smiles about 400 times a day and it comes down to 18 times a day by the time they become a teenager. How can one keep up this enthusiasm and energy as one grows up? Interestingly, there is a connecting between breath and emotions. You notice that when one is happy, the breath is deep and calm and when one is sulking or frowning or angry it is hot and short. So by controlling the breath, one can control emotions. Children should learn Pranayama and practice them regularly to keep their emotions stable and their energy levels and enthusiasm high. The Art of Living conducts such Pranayama programs regularly all over the country during the summer vacations.
Compassion : In this rat race, it is very easy to get consumed by commercialization and always want more and more. Eventually one realizes that it does not give true happiness and can even lead to depression. Spending a few hours in social service can blossom their personality and make them truly useful citizens. There are many initiatives like ‘The Ugly Indian’ which are working towards making India a clean place. Many kids have gotten together and cleaned up walls and footpaths as a ‘Spot Fix’ and won accolades from society. See if you can get such opportunities for your kids to be truly useful and nurture their innate compassion for life.