And so we come to the end of another lengthy summer holiday. For any parent, the prospect of weeks on end entertaining their newly unencumbered charges can be a daunting prospect, particularly for those trying to hold down a 9-5 job.
Given the challenges and stress of daily life, school holidays, more often than not, represent little more than an opportunity to sleep late and take in endless morning tv, with many students returning to school having gained little from their time off.
But for parents inclined to pop their kids in front of an iPad and wish them all the best as they head screaming off to work, it’s important to remember that the right type of school holiday can in fact be more valuable than anything the little ones might learn in the classroom.
By hoisting your impressionable learners out of their comfort zones and exposing them to new environments, people and cultures, you can teach them valuable lessons in perspective, tolerance and gratitude that no school day could ever hope to replicate.
Naturally, for most of us it’s simply impossible to take a lengthy sabbatical from work so as to school our children in the ways of the world. But should you be able to escape the confines of your office for even a few days, the positive effect on your kids is likely to be far-reaching.
Here are a few reasons why holidays matter for your family:
For school children, the world can sometimes look a lot smaller than it really is, with activities generally taking place within a limited area. But by taking your children further afield, exposing them to the way others live and to some of the struggles they face, you’ll afford them a fundamental shift in perspective, hopefully resulting in a newfound appreciation for the many gifts often taken for granted.
Whilst there’s no shortage of actual free time on offer during the lengthy school breaks, there tends to be little in the way of real rest, with iPads, smartphones and video games occupying much of unoccupied learners’ time. By altering the parameters of the daily routine and escaping from the confines of technology, you’ll give your little ones the opportunity to truly rest and recuperate after a long school year, and return refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.
A Cultural Awakening
It’s one thing to learn about the great works of literature, art and architecture within the bounds of the classroom, but to experience them in the flesh is another experience entirely. What might otherwise go over the heads of learners looking forward to lunch break is likely to resonate far more strongly in person, so use the holidays to expose your little ones to museums, galleries, theatre and other artistic pursuits so as to broaden their minds.
The art of tolerance
For children used to having plenty of space and time to themselves, it can be difficult to practice the art of patience, particularly for those without siblings. By shaking things up and relocating to an unfamiliar location, you’ll force your kids to get used to sharing their space, which can serve as an invaluable lesson in the art of tolerance. Whether it’s relinquishing space to others during that long road trip or sharing close quarters whilst on holiday, there’s much value to be gained by compromising that comfort zone for a few days.
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