How to keep your child’s brain active during holidays

Holidays are a period when children are excited about spending long hours sleeping, playing, meeting new friends, and watching movies as a way to cool off after a hectic school term. But without proper guidance and supervision, they are unlikely going to engage in constructive activities, which can impact their academic growth negatively. This, therefore, calls for parents and teachers to devise ways of keeping school-going children active in holidays.

“Holidays should not only be about merry making, eating, sleeping, visiting and watching TV. Rather, children should spare at least two hours daily to do revision, especially for subjects they are weak at,” says Theoneste Ngiruwonsanga, a language teacher at APPEC College Remera, Kigali.

He adds that teachers should take the responsibility of giving children holiday packages that would enable them keep abreast with what they studied the previous term.

“I call upon children to balance their time; they should do home chores but still spare some time to do some research and compare notes with colleagues from other schools,” adds Ngiruwonsanga.

For Emmy Ntigurirwa, a Swahili and English teacher, parents should guide their children on how to revise by helping them to draw time tables.

He says parents should not bury their kids in only home chores, but calls upon parents who can afford to find teachers to coach their children at home to do so because it would keep them informed and safeguard them from bad groups.

“Extra-curricular activities are also advisable for children during holidays. For example, they should participate in sports and club activities to discuss with their counterparts different aspects of life like the environment,” he says.

Ntigurirwa notes that parents ought to know that education is not only a teacher’s responsibility but also a parent’s duty. 

Ngiruwonsanga says parents should take the initiative to buy their children read materials during holidays as a means of keeping them engaged positively.

“For children’s brains to be active, they can read any material they come their way like textbooks, magazines and newspapers, then later share with their family members about the new things they will have learnt,” says  Collins Odhiambo, a teacher and counsellor.

He adds that parents should also engage their children in other activities that promote talent growth like singing or dancing lessons.

Odhiambo, nevertheless says parents should engage their children in different home chores such as cooking, washing and mopping so that they grow up knowing how to be responsible.

For Valens Safari, an educationist, parents should make it a point to take their children to libraries in order for them to research and read ahead.

“Children should also be given treats through picnics, trips, visiting different places like the museum, after which they should be tasked to write stories of their experiences. This is both a form of fun and a learning avenue,” he says.

He explains that children should be taught simple skills like baking chapattis or cakes so that they learn to work hard.

Safari advises that for families with farms, children should also take part in farm activities like grazing, looking after poultry and livestock to enable them enjoy the fresh air outdoors and learn new skills.

He calls upon children to participate in youth programmes during holidays.

“Some of these provide them an avenue to learn about the dangers of drug abuse, unwanted pregnancies, peer influence, and also boost their creativity,” he says.

Parents’ take

According to Wilson Mucho, a resident of Kabeza, Kigali, children need to go visit relatives so that they learn about their family circles as well as how to survive away from home.

He says children should be given daily assignments that challenge and develop their metal skills. For example, parents should ask their children about what the news was about, and prices of different commodities.

“Parents should let children explore more about different cultures by inviting their friends at home so that they do group discussions,” says Peter Kalisa, a father of three.

He adds that children should be taught to keep a journal of each activity they do every day to help them grow their organizational and time management skills.