Updated: May 26
"I've got nothing to do." My 5 years old complained as she lazed on the couch.
"Its so boring.." The older one chipped in.
The 1 week school holidays just started, and I knew that this was the start of rapid and continuous complaints(various permutations) for the entire week. Multiple that by 4! Shudder the thought.
Instead of coming up with things for them to do, I decided to let them take responsibility for their school holidays.
"Great. Why don't you spend some time creating what you want to do this school holiday? It does NOT mean that we'll definitely do it, but if it's not on the list, we definitely won't do it."
That was enough to get the girls to sit together and come up with a wish-list of thing they wanted to do this holiday. They took 20-mins to brainstorm.
They came back with a list of 45 things including movies, swimming, iPad, dancing, gymnastics, shopping, legoland, USS, lots of specific game names and I noticed there was no 'homework' time, at all.
Without flinching, I turned the task back to them.
"This sounds like lots of great fun! Since we're going to do these, does it make sense to balance it with a little work? Lets include 2 goals - 1 personal and 1 subject related. A personal goal is something you want to do like skate-board, a new musical instrument, anything that you don't yet know how to do. Subject is related to any ONE school subject you want to improve on."
My suggestion seemed fair, and while some frowned initially, they knew 'privileges comes with responsibilities' and quickly took turns sharing the 2 goals each wanted to work on.
I drew up an empty time-table and asked them to fill in the details. The times they would wake up, do their subject work, complete their personal goals and have fun. They had some discussion around it, but eventually, settled on a time-table they could all own.
Its been 4 blissful days so far. One day at legoland, with 3 days of scheduled times for playing together or separately, achieving their individual goals while enthusiastically working on their Mandarin.
4 Steps for a Blissful School Holidays
1) Brainstorm - Let kids decide what they what to do (why should it be the parents' responsibility to keep them busy?)
2) Balance with Goals - Fair division of work AND play (a lot more fun-time for mine, its their holidays anyways)
3) Schedule - let them decide when/how they want to spend their time (autonomy means they will own it, and you can always remind them that's what they created)
4) Timer - For activities that require a time-limit, investing in a timer means we all know when time's up (I don't remind them about when time's up, it's on them to stop)
PS : Encourage them to schedule work before play. "Eat your frog first"
So the entire afternoon's fun play!
Watch 3S's for Home Play https://youtu.be/oGWmu8YDF58
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