The schools are closing. There is a long holiday waiting for
students and their families. Some of these families have begun to think about
what to do with the children all along the holiday. They are going over the
summer school options and their budgets. Some of them rely on the family elders
option. When I ask children, the most common answers are as follows: “I’m going
to go on holiday, nothing, I don’t know”. 
Having no plan is the common point of these answers. Holiday
is the rest time following a long school term. However, in our education
system, the summer holiday is very long. It’s a long time even for resting and
relaxing. Having no plan underlies the alterations in the children’s daily
routines, sleeping times, and school routines when the new semester begins. The
distinction between the activities that can be adjusted during the holiday and the
ones that should be kept the same should be made carefully. Being in holiday
does not require a change in the sleeping times. In a similar way, holiday does
not mean unlimited TV, PC or tablet time for children. Making adjustments in
the activities considering the age of the children; fixing the reading times,
or study times distributed along the daytime keeps families from experiencing
problems. However, a 3 month period is there to be occupied.

For the families who are free of financial problems, summer
schools, foreign youth camps, language schools are right choices. In addition
to the enjoyment and athletic benefits, sportive activities provide many other
advantages for children. Team plays such as basketball, volleyball, or football
initiate getting help from each other, sharing, and being nice to each other. A
decent coach contributes a lot to the acquisition of these kinds of skills. I
wish there would be more programs that children can join and find an opportunity
to play sports, enjoy and acquire skills. Unfortunately, there is not. In the
current circumstances, parents should make some arrangements that provide
children to socialize with their peers and acquire new hobbies.

AWAY FROM HOME

Grandparents sometimes save the summer holiday. They help to
take care of the children at their houses sometimes in the same town, sometimes
in another town or in their summer houses. However, elders sometimes cannot set
clear limits to the children as parents do. So, this situation brings trouble
upon the parents. It would take time to re-form the rules. Children who are
under 11 may stay with their grandparents or familiar people, but they can’t
stand the separation in unfamiliar environments and problems arise. It can be
put into practice 11 years onward, beginning with 2 week periods. It would be
really beneficial for children to experience the sense of self sufficiency, especially
for those who are highly dependent on their parents. However, it’s not
favorable to take preschool children to their grandparents and make them stay
away from parents for long durations. Those children may have the feeling of
being abandoned by their parents. They cannot tolerate long term separations.
Children at the age of 3 to 6 can stay away from their parents at a maximum
duration of 1 week providing that the child is with an adult whom he/she knows
well.  For this reason, parents should
overstrain their capacity to plan the child to stay with the family during the
holiday.

Are you and your children ready for the holiday? Keep in
mind that children’s primary need is to spend time together with their
families. While sending your child for holiday, or ignoring spending time with
him/her and thinking that he/she has his/her own friends anyway, keep in mind
that this has a negative effect on your child’s development and you are missing
the opportunity to share a great time with your children. Have a nice and
productive holiday.

Prof. Dr. Bengi Semerci

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